Toward the end of summer, evenings get cool in Grand Rapids, MI. It can be tempting for homeowners to turn off their air conditioners during late summer or early fall and let the cool air circulate through their homes.
There are benefits to opening your windows and circulating fresh air whenever possible. Additionally, if you are selective about when you open your windows instead of using your air conditioning unit, you might be able to save a few dollars on your monthly energy expenses.
Conventional wisdom states that the less you run your AC unit, the less you spend on energy. However, there are some caveats to this way of economizing of energy. You should consider them and let them help you decide when to strategically open and close your windows to keep your house comfortable and save money.
Should You Use the AC During the Day and Then Open Your Windows at Night?
While the sun is blazing hot outside, keep the windows closed and let your central air conditioning system do its work. As the sun sets and the air outside cools, open the windows and allow the cool air to flow in. This sounds like a great strategy.
Unfortunately, this strategy does not always work as planned. Using this method could cost you more money. Throughout the day, your air conditioning unit has been removing the humidity from the air in your home. This is a significant part of why your home feels cool. As soon as you open the windows, the conditioned air in your home will escape, and the humid air from outside will fill your house.
Once you open the windows, you raise the indoor air temperature, even though the air outside at night is only slightly warmer than the cool air inside your home. When you reactivate your air conditioning unit the next day, your equipment will have to work harder to reduce the temperature and remove the humidity.
During the summer, feeling comfortable in your home is more than just cooling the air. If the outdoor temperature is cool and has a high humidity level, it will make you feel sticky, warm, and uncomfortable. Moist air from the outdoors will permeate your furnishings and carpet. Everything is just going to feel less pleasant.
Does This Mean I Should Not Open the Windows?
No. Opening your windows during the late summer or early fall to cool your home can be a good option. This is especially true for Grand Rapids residents since Michigan has a cool northern climate. During the late summer, outdoor temperatures can drop to as low as 70 degrees or less during the evenings. You will see the most benefit from shutting off the AC and opening the windows when this happens. Just make sure that the humidity levels are also low.
To get the maximum benefit from the cool air coming in from the outside, close your windows and blinds early in the morning. This will let you trap in the cooler air from the night before. Try to do this before the sun starts to rise. If you wait too long to close your windows, the outdoor temperature will rise and heat the air in your home, requiring your AC unit to work that much harder to make your residence cool again.
Can I Run My AC Unit and Have My Windows Open at the Same Time?
Yes. However, at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, we do not recommend it. When our technicians install an air conditioner, we first calculate the load necessary for the unit. This keeps the system running smoothly and the home comfortably cool.
You put an extra load on your AC system when you open a window. The air conditioner must work harder to counteract the warm air coming in from the outside as the cool air escapes.
If you want to have fresh air in your home, we recommend shutting off your air conditioner, opening your windows, and then turning on your air conditioning unit again when you are ready to close your windows. This will save you money and prevent your HVAC system from working too hard, experiencing unnecessary wear and tear, or overheating. It is counterproductive to cool your home while the windows are open.
The Side Effects of Opening Your Windows at Night
If you leave your windows open, more dust comes into your home. Your HVAC system’s air filter may not be able to efficiently remove all the dust particles that enter your residence. Eventually, dust will coat the exposed parts like the condenser, evaporator, electronic components, ductwork, and fan motor. Dust can create an insulation barrier over the coils of your cooling unit.
This leads to premature breakdowns and increased energy bills. All it takes is a dust-coated evaporator coil and a clogged air filter to create the conditions needed for the coil to freeze and your AC unit’s compressor to burn out. This is an expensive repair.
The Benefits of Keeping Your Air Conditioner Turned On
Modern central air conditioning units are more energy-efficient and perform better than older models. This means that your central air unit can keep your home at a desirable temperature for a longer time while using less energy.
Grand Rapids is humid during the summer. This is one of the reasons why it is better to keep your home tightly sealed with your AC unit running all summer long. Even if you only open your windows at night, you will be making your home more humid. Your AC unit will have to work harder the next day, consuming more energy. This negates any money you save by having your air conditioning system shut off at night.
Is It Bad to Sleep With the AC On?
No. Most experts agree that leaving your AC on during the night is safe. Many recommend it because the optimal temperature for sleeping is a lot cooler than most people think. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you sleep the best in a room between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the best results, make sure your air filters are changed frequently. Don’t sleep with the air blowing directly on you. You can use a smart thermostat with your HVAC unit to create optimal nighttime temperatures while minimizing energy use.
Your Local Heating and Cooling Resource
At Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, we are committed to providing the best HVAC services to those in the Grand Rapids area and throughout this part of Michigan. Our customers include both residential and commercial property owners, and we’ve built a reputation for delivering on our promises. You can rely on us to provide you with a full range of HVAC maintenance, installation, and repair services. Whether you need a furnace, geothermal heating, zoning system, or air purification, Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling is the team you should have on your side.
We go above and beyond to exceed our customer’s heating and cooling needs. From preventative maintenance to emergency repairs, we have the tools, experience, and training to get the job done right. We can’t wait to start working for you, so contact Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling today.