Sleeping With the Windows Open: 5 Mistakes That Increase Utility Bills
Shutting off your home air conditioner and sleeping with the windows open seems like a great way to save energy. After all, doesn't it make sense to give your HVAC a break when the sun goes down and temperatures drop? Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Sleeping with the windows open is just one of many ways you might be unknowingly driving up your monthly utility bill. Keep reading to find out lesser-known mistakes that are costing you money.
Sleeping With Windows Open
Residents of the Pacific Northwest know the joy of cracking a window on summer nights. While people should enjoy a night of fresh air from time to time, it's essential to be aware of potentially higher energy costs.
When you leave your windows open all night, you essentially undo all the hard work your air conditioning system has done to cool your home. During the day, the air conditioning system works to remove heat and humidity from the indoor air. If the outside air is even one degree warmer than your home's internal temperature, the system will have to work harder to restore your desired temperature.
Additionally, outside air usually contains more humidity than the inside air, leaving your rooms feeling stuffy and uncomfortable. Humidity makes temperatures feel warmer than they actually are. If you let your home get too damp, you might feel inclined to compensate by setting your thermostat to an even lower temperature, increasing HVAC system workload.
Some research has revealed the optimal conditions for sleeping with open windows. If the outside temperature is about 70 degrees and humidity levels are low, you can crack a window overnight. However, try to shut them as early as possible in the morning to keep outside moisture and sunlight from increasing your internal temperatures.
Not Having Enough Insulation
Home insulation is one of the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
Insulation traps treated air in your home, preventing it from escaping through the walls, floors, and ceilings. This means your home will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and you won't have to use as much energy to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Without adequate insulation, air at outdoor temperatures is likely to creep in through any available opening. Also, poor insulation can make your home more susceptible to drafts and moisture problems. Conducting a home energy audit is the most reliable way to track where your home needs insulation most.
Shutting Vents in Less-Used Rooms
Closing vents in unused rooms is another energy-wasting mistake that makes sense on the surface but costs you in the long run.
The logic seems sound enough. If you're not using a room, wouldn't you want your heat and air-conditioning redirected to where you actually spend time?
When vents are closed, the resulting excess air pressure within your homes' ductwork forces the blower to work harder, putting extra strain on your HVAC system. This can lead to higher energy bills and a shorter lifespan for your HVAC unit. In addition, closing vents can cause some rooms to become too hot or too cold, making them uncomfortable to use. So rather than closing off vents in unused rooms, keeping them open and allowing your HVAC system to work as efficiently as possible is best.
You should also keep internal doors open to keep an even pressure and consistent circulation throughout the house.
Trying to Cool Your House “Faster”
When the weather is sweltering, there's nothing more refreshing than coming inside to a cool, comfortable home. But on those rare occasions when the temperature inside is hotter than it is outside, it can be tempting to crank the AC unit down to its lowest setting to cool things off quickly. Unfortunately, this approach doesn't work as intended. In fact, it can actually make the problem worse.
Here's why: most AC units are designed to operate within a specific range of temperatures. When the unit is set too low, it has to work harder to achieve the desired temperature, which can cause overheating and breakage.
It's important to understand that your home A/C unit doesn't blow air at the exact temperature you set it to. Instead, it blows cooled air for as long as it takes for your home to reach your desired temperature.
Patience is a virtue when it comes to heating and cooling your home!
Putting Your Thermostat In the Wrong Spot
Location, location, location. Where you install your thermostat has a significant impact on how it functions.
To get the most accurate readings, it is crucial to place the thermostat in a central location. If the thermostat is installed near an exterior wall, it is likely to get skewed readings due to the cooler temperature of the wall. Similarly, if the thermostat is placed near a heat source, such as a fireplace, it is likely to get inaccurate readings due to the warmer temperature in that area. By placing the thermostat in a central location, you can be sure that it is getting an accurate reading of the temperature in the room, which will allow you to more effectively regulate the climate in your home.
The More You Know, The More You Save
So should you never sleep with your windows open again? Of course not! Sleeping with windows open is fine every now and then, but it's helpful to understand the toll it can take on your HVAC and utility bills over time.
While some of these mistakes may seem like no big deal, they can actually add up to a lot of wasted energy. By increasing your awareness, you can make better decisions when heating and cooling your home. Contact Bob's Heating for an HVAC inspection to ensure your system is running at peak efficiency.