This may seem like a strange topic for an HVAC blog post, but during the hotter weather to come many pet owners will have their pets at home during the day. As dedicated pet owners, we want our furry friends to be comfortable, but some people are spending too much on home cooling to achieve this. There are many myths about home cooling and using power in other ways to keep your pets happy. In this article, we will examine how to keep your pets comfortable at home without driving up your energy bills.
Keeping Your Home as Hot or Cold as Possible
Some people believe that because a cat or a dog has a warm furry coat, it’s necessary to set the thermostat to a lower temperature. This seems logical, if you were wearing a fur coat in a house during the summer maybe you would need the extra cold air to stay comfortable. But this isn’t necessarily the best way to approach this problem, and there is a smarter way to cool your home.
It’s important to state that we are not recommending that you leave your AC system off with pets in the house if the outside temperature gets above 80º. In this case, it makes sense to have the air conditioning on during the hottest hours of the day. The thermostat can be easily programmed or adjusted remotely if you have a smart thermostat. Most of the time, our homes are comfortable at around 78º if the blinds are curtains are drawn to cut out most of the sunlight.
Many homeowners have their thermostat set to 72º because they believe that this is the optimal indoor temperatures. But, when our pets are home alone, they are usually pretty inactive and resting or sleeping until your return. Even if your pet is playing, they can easily cool down with some panting and taking a drink of water. A pet doesn’t tend to hang around the AC vents in order to stay cool.
This sort of thinking is also applicable during the colder months. There is no real need to set your thermostat any higher than 68º when you’re not at home. Different pets may have differing needs, and it’s important to observe how they react. If you find that your pets are seeking warmth and cover at 68º, maybe you need to turn the thermostat up by a couple of degrees and see how they respond.
Keeping Your Ceiling Fans On
Keeping your ceiling fans on when you’re not at home is a waste of electricity. A ceiling fan is used to move air around; it doesn’t cool or heat the air at all. If you’re attempting to cool or heat your room, a ceiling fan will help you to move that treated air around the room. As humans, we enjoy the movement of air because the breeze helps us to evaporate sweat from the surface of our skin. This is how a human cools down, but it’s not the same for cats and dogs. When our pets need to get cool, they pant, so if you’re leaving your ceiling fans on for your pets, they are deriving no benefit from the power that you’re using.
Washing Pet Bedding in Hot Water
We all want to save energy to lower our bills and be kinder to the environment. Many pet owners believe that you need to wash pet bedding in hot water to get it thoroughly clean. In fact, when you wash your pet bedding and their softer toys in cold water it’s equally effective. This is especially true if you have softened water and you can use less soap to get the bedding and toys super clean. This will help you to use far less energy to keep your pets supplied with clean toys and bedding.
Keeping the TV, Radio and Lights On
Many homeowners resort to leaving their TV or radio or lights on when they go out as an extra security measure. This can be effective, but a casual thief may approach the home and knock to see if there is a reply anyway. This will render the deception ineffective, and they may attempt to break in anyway. This method can be more effective if timers are used to turn the TV, radio, and lights on and off at certain times of the day. Your local Police department will have plenty of advice on how to make your home more secure with an alarm system and other measures.
If you’re leaving the TV, radio and/or lights on for the benefit of your pets, then you’re likely to be wasting electricity for no reason. Most pets are not particularly interested in noise, and they often find it confusing. Of course, they enjoy your voice and certain other sounds, but music and random voices on the TV or radio are not very interesting to them. There are exceptions, if your pet is especially interested in the TV then a judgment call will have to be made. In most cases, the pet will take the opportunity to relax and sleep when you are not at home.
Paying Too Much for Pet Comfort
We all want our pets to feel comfortable when we are not at home. This is partly due to guilt at having to leave them at home, but this is unwarranted. Left to their own devices, most pets will simply enjoy some quiet napping time, grab a snack or enjoy a drink of water. Most people are paying far too much to keep their pets comfortable and as we’ve shown above a lot of the measures taken are just not necessary.
If you want to keep your pet comfortable, make sure they have plenty of water and some dry food to keep them hydrated and satiated. Draw the blinds and curtains to cut out most of the sunlight to prevent the home from heating up too much. In summer, set the thermostat to around 72º to keep them cool and to have a cooler house to return to when you get home. If you need more advice on how to keep your home comfortable contact your local HVAC professional for expert help and advice.