During the summer months, we are likely to start to feel the humidity and heat. In order to cope with these challenging conditions, many of us will start to use our air conditioning systems more frequently. Although the primary purpose of your air conditioner is to keep you comfortable and cool, you may not be aware that you are placing your system under excessive strain, simply with your temperature setting. When you keep your air conditioner working for a prolonged period at 70 degrees when the temperature has exceeded 90 degrees can push your AC to the limits of its capacity. So, if you want to reduce the stress on your system, you will need to consider the 20 degree rule.
The Fundamentals of the 20 Degree Rule:
In simple terms, the 20 degree rule means that you ensure that your air conditioner thermostat is set at no more than 20 degrees less than the outside temperature. For example, if it is 93 degrees outside, you should set your thermostat at a minimum of 73 degrees.
The reason why this is important is based on how the air conditioner functions. Every model of air conditioner cools a room by both removing heat and dehumidifying the air. Unfortunately, when your air conditioner is forced to cool your home by over 20 degrees, its ability to complete both these tasks diminishes. This pushes your system to work harder, and inevitably it will use more energy. This undue stress will also contribute to excessive wear and tear and could compromise the lifespan of your unit.
What if 20 Degrees Isn’t Enough?
If the temperature outside has reached the level where a 20 degree reduction is not enough to make you feel comfortable, there are measures you can take. These involve making some physical changes around your home to reduce reliance on your air conditioning system. For example, you can hang blinds or drapes to reduce any daytime heat gain. You can also use your drapes to more effectively shield your home; keeping them closed on south facing windows at times when the sun is at its hottest. You could also consider installing ceiling fans or a whole home dehumidifier. These devices can improve the comfort level in your home without needing to place additional strain on your AC unit. Finally, you could consider installing and using a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to have greater control on the zones in your home and use the air conditioning only as and when it is needed. For example, with a programmable thermostat, you don’t need to have the air conditioning running in the sleeping areas of your home during the day. This will save energy and wear and tear on your system.
Although you may be tempted to simply increase the size of your air conditioning unit, the 20 degree rule could be a more effective solution. Boosting the size of your system may increase your cooling power, but it will not be able to adequately dehumidify it. This will mean that while your home feels cool, it also feels clammy and uncomfortable.