Did you know that the majority of AC units in Southern Idaho today have what is known as a “set point” of 98 degrees? This means the unit will run at maximum efficiency right up to an outside temperature of 98°. When the outside temperature is greater than 98° then you can expect a diminishing return on the cooling ability of the unit. Additionally, these units are designed to cool the interior of the home to approximately 25° below the outside temperature. Therefore, if it is 98° outside, you can reasonably expect your AC to be able to cool your home to 73° inside.
This week, we are expected to reach 104°! What does this mean for your home comfort? This means that if you have an in-home temperature of 79° your AC unit is running as expected.
What! An interior home temperature of 79° and the AC is running as designed!?!
Yes, in triple digit heat, especially when we experience several days of 100+ degree days, you may “feel” like your system is not cooling properly when in fact it is working as designed. We get many calls each year during extreme heat days (especially days 100° and above) where the homeowner feels like their AC unit is not working properly because there is an in-home temperature of 78° when the thermostat itself is set to 72°. In many of these situations the system is running correctly, but it can’t do any more to reduce the temperature inside the home!
Because we are heading into a string of triple digit days and the team at Right Now Heating & Air wants to provide some tips to you to help keep you and your family cool.
- Keep your drapes and blinds pulled throughout the day. Doing so keeps the cool in and the heat out.
- Keep area and ceiling fans running in your home to circulate air. Remember- Counter Clockwise is Cool for ceiling fans. Make sure they are rotating counter clockwise in the summer months!
- Heat rises and your bathroom fans can actually be helpful in pulling some of that hot air out of the home.
- Keep your interior doors open so air can circulate throughout the home.
- Check your AC unit’s filter. If it is dirty, replace it. If you can’t immediately replace it, then remove it. It is better to have unrestricted airflow during extreme utilization days than to have a restricted filter. Don’t forget to get a new filter installed asap, though!
Remember: That the heat you bring in to the house, your AC unit will have to work that much harder to remove.
- Utilize your outdoor grille. Using the stove top and oven add considerable heat to your home.
- Do your laundry in the cooler hours of the morning.
- Bathing & Showering. Clean up early in the morning or after 9pm at night. Take cooler showers and baths. This will not only help keep the heat out of your home, but also help keep your body temperature cool.
- TVs and lighting in your home also emit heat. Turn them off when not in use.
Here’s what you need to know about high efficiency systems …
Old AC units were powerful and could move hot air out of homes quickly, but these systems were inefficient. Today’s systems are highly efficient, but they can’t cool as quickly as the old systems. There are many benefits to today’s high efficiency air conditioning units. One thing you should know, however, is that today’s units are not made to cool homes quickly as much as they are made to cool homes consistently over time.
This means you can’t walk into a home that is warm or hot and expect your newer, high efficiency AC unit to be able to move that hot air out quickly. It may take up to 24 hours to cool to a desired temperature.
Set it for a few degrees cooler and leave it! …
During these hot, hot days you should be setting your system at approximately 2 degrees cooler than you would like the room temperature to be. As the outside temperature rises throughout the day and then decreases in the evening and following morning, you home should approximate the room temperature you want it to be. Remember—give it 24 hours!
Don’t readjust your thermostat at this point! Leave it once the desired interior temperature is reached. – it takes your AC 6 to 8 hours to recover just 3 degrees in your home and you don’t want to have to regain this ground every day.
Here’s another tip about your thermostat …
While you don’t want to adjust the thermostat when Mother Nature’s heat is really on, you may want to set your fan to run continuously. Your system is still on “Cool”, but now you adjust the fan from “Auto” to “On”. This means that your system will be actively circulating air even when the condensing cycle may be off. Moving the air will provide a sensation of coolness but also help prevent air from getting stagnant in pockets of the home.
Keep Your Body Cool …
I’ve already discussed that the set point on your AC unit may limit its ability to cool your home to your satisfaction during triple-digit heat, but that does not mean you can’t impact your own body’s “set point”.
- Stay hydrated with lots of cold water.
- Taking cool baths & showers.
- Popsicles are not just for kids! Buy a bag or box of your favorite flavors and have at it!
- Eat cool meals, and fruits. These are the days that water melons were made for!
We’ll get through this heat wave, Idaho. And, if it helps, remember it was just 6 short months ago when we had a foot of snow on the ground!
Yours in comfort-
Right Now Heating & Air