It might be the most wonderful time of year, but one look at your energy bill can send your mood crashing. But how do you stay warm without breaking the bank? Surprisingly, your air conditioner is the answer!
Air conditioning is often overlooked as a heating system, but the truth is, the technology heats as well as it cools. Air conditioners are generally designed to keep your building at the right temperature, regardless of the weather. By switching between heating and cooling modes, you can keep up with seasonal changes and maintain a consistent climate throughout the year.
While dedicated heating systems do just that – heat – air conditioning actually gives you the full package. For both heating and cooling, it’s the most efficient form of climate control. But even without the cooling element, it’s a highly efficient source of heating. Compared to electric heaters, air conditioners consume less energy, thereby lowering your energy bills and carbon emissions.
An electric heater gives 1kw of heat for every 1kw of electricity used, while gas heaters give even less. Typically, your AC gives you 3kw of heat for every 1kw of electricity it uses. An AC in heating mode pumps heat from the outside in. So, while its efficiency depends on how cold it is outside – the colder it is, the more work it has to do – your AC is by far the more efficient heater. But isn’t gas cheaper, you ask? It’s true, electricity can cost more relative to gas. But let’s face it, a gas heater is expensive to install and won’t cool in summer like an air conditioner.
While it’s nice to come home to a toasty warm home, most of us don’t know the ideal temperature to set our heaters to. Comfort is very subjective and the best thing is to set it to what’s comfortable for everyone at home. But this again depends on various factors.
A series of psychological experiments by the Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) showed we’ve been socialized to believe that 72° F (22° C) is the optimum comfortable room temperature. In fact, the preferred temperature ranges from 68° to 76° F (20° to 24° C) depending on the time of year and the type of clothing worn. Consequently, staying comfortable is a moving goal post!
Look at it this way: most people feel alert during the morning, but a little bit colder or drowsy after lunch. As the day winds down, our body temperatures drop and by bedtime, our core body temperature lowers even further.
Constantly setting your AC to a high temperature will send your energy bills soaring! When the temperatures drop, we often want to warm up quickly and neglect the reality of the expenses, but this temperature range will take the edge off the cold and keep you cozy all day.
Setting your AC too low can ruin a thorough night’s sleep. A National Institute of Health study found, on average, the best sleep happens within this rage.
If there’s no one home, there’s no good reason to keep your home heated to its comfort level. Setting the thermostat lower will lead to significant cost savings over time.
As you can see, you can keep your house warm without breaking the bank. We hope these few tricks help to keep your heating bills down this winter.