There are many misunderstandings about how air conditioning systems work that we encounter. For example, air conditioners don’t “use up” refrigerant and won’t need to have any more put in unless the refrigerant leaks out.
One of the most common misconceptions about air conditioning systems is about how the thermostat controls the AC. People often believe that the farther they lower the thermostat, the harder the air conditioner will work to deliver cooling. So if people want faster cooling for their house, they’ll push the thermostat setting to its lowest temperature. Except, this isn’t how the thermostat or AC works.
Below we’ll examine the thermostat-air conditioner connection and how you can use this knowledge to save energy while still keeping cool in summer.
A thermostat is a switch, not a throttle
A thermostat is responsible for turning on and off the air conditioner’s compressor and fan. The thermostat senses indoor temperatures and uses this data to determine when the rest of the HVAC system needs to run and when to stop; i.e. it’s a switch connected to a temperature sensor.
This means that no matter what temperature the thermostat is set to, the air conditioner will work the same amount. Pushing the thermostat down to 19°C won’t make the AC worker any harder or any faster than when it’s set at 26°C. All that happens is the air conditioner will stay on longer to reach a lower temperature. This does translate to more work for the air conditioner (and higher electric bills), but the AC isn’t providing a greater volume of cooling at a faster rate.
The trouble with heat gain
There’s another issue with lowering the thermostat too far, which is that it increases the rate of heat gain. The larger the difference between the temperature inside the house and the temperature outside, the faster external heat moves indoors. A setting of 19°C or below will allow heat to move rapidly indoors, and the air conditioner will have to run even longer to remove this extra hear. When you have the thermostat set higher so the gap between indoor and outdoor temperatures is narrower, heat enters slower and the AC will run less.
The ideal thermostat operation for summer
There are two important factors to remember when setting your thermostat for warm or hot summer days: first, keep the thermostat at a consistent temperature during the day when people are home. Moving the setting up and down leads to wasteful operation and it’s not cooling the house any faster.
Second, locate the warmest temperature you find comfortable. We suggest 26°C, which most people will find pleasant enough. This is an excellent setting to cut down on the cost to run the AC. At night or when people aren’t home, set the thermostat about three degrees warmer. During a long vacation, set the thermostat for 31°C to keep the house from overheating.
If you have an air conditioner in Parksville, BC that’s struggling to properly cool your house no matter where you set the thermostat, you may need to have our technicians look into it. We’re ready to help!
Temprite Climate Solutions serves Courtenay, BC and the surrounding areas. For a job done right, call Temprite!