Iowans, You Might Be Running Your Air Conditioner Wrong
Iowa decided to basically skip spring and jump right into summer. I went from having the heat on at my house to turning on the air conditioner in less than 24 hours. Not exactly ideal as it's nice to have those few weeks where you can just leave your windows open and enjoy the cool spring air. Did you know it's more efficient to turn your AC on and off than it is to let it run at a mild level all day?
It does seem kind of strange that it is more efficient to turn your AC off (or set a higher temperature) at night or when you leave for the day, instead of just letting it constantly keep your house around 70 degrees. If your house is at a cooler temperature, doesn't it make sense the AC doesn't have to work as hard to maintain that temp? Nope.
According to Good Housekeeping air conditioning systems run most efficiently when they are running at full speed. Cooling your house from 80 to 70, when you get home from work, uses less energy than having your AC run at less powerful speeds all day.
Some tips and tricks you can use to keep your AC running efficiently are clear any excess brush, plants, or garbage surrounding the unit. Clean the filters, and raise your thermostat a few degrees.
That last one sounds like a nightmare to me however, there are things you can do to stay comfortable without blasting cold air in your house all day. You can buy a ceiling fan or place fans throughout the house. According to Good Housekeeping a fan won't necessarily chill a room but it can move air across your skin, which helps to cool you down.
Home Guides recommends setting your AC to the warmest temperature you can live with and leaving it there. You don't want constant fluctuating temperatures, they cause more energy use by the fans in your AC unit and lead to fluctuating temperatures in your house.
One of the best things you can do is to buy a digital, programable thermostat. Being able to set different temperatures for different times of the day will save you a lot of headaches and money. At night when it's cooler outside, or when you're going to leave for the day, program your AC unit to turn up 10 degrees, then program the thermostat to start cooling the house down 20 minutes before you get home from work.
Before starting the research on this, I would've bet my last dollar it was more efficient to set your thermostat and just leave it there, but I was wrong. Operating at full speed is when your AC is most happy.