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5 Cooling Myths That Don’t Actually Work

July 13, 2018

AC maintenance summer tips

If you’re like most Florida homeowners, you’re probably always on the lookout for some cooling tips—especially during summer.

Unfortunately, some popular cooling methods don’t actually work: they’re just myths.

And in some cases, these false cooling methods will raise your monthly energy bills and make you even more uncomfortable.

So to help you stay cool and save money, let’s look at 5 common cooling myths:

  1. The less clothes you wear, the cooler you’ll be

  2. Fans lower room temperature

  3. Turning down the thermostat super low will cool your home faster

  4. You should turn your AC off when you’re not at home to save money

  5. If your AC isn’t cooling your home well, it means you need a bigger AC

Myth #1: The less clothes you wear, the cooler you’ll be

The truth: For everyday wear, bearing your skin by wearing tank tops and shorts can actually make you warmer.

Why?

Because your skin is directly exposed to the sun’s radiation, which causes your skin to gain more heat than if it was covered.

(Note: When you’re exercising, less clothing is better. Your body needs to get rid of lots of heat quickly, and clothes tend to trap heat in.)

Covering your skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants helps you feel cooler by:

  • Shading your skin and blocking the sun’s radiation (just like how you feel cooler in the shade than in direct sunlight).

  • Wicking away sweat. Some fabrics help absorb sweat from your skin, which makes you feel cooler.

Of course, you can’t just wear any long-sleeved clothes. A thick, wool sweater will definitely make you feel too warm because it traps body heat.

You should wear clothes that are:

  • Thin to let your body heat escape.

  • Light colored to reflect more of the sun’s radiation. Dark colors trap more heat and transfer it to your body.

  • Loose to give you an insulating layer of air between the clothing and your skin.

  • Moisture-wicking to aid in removing sweat from your skin. Cotton is great for this, or you can purchase special moisture-wicking clothing.

Myth #2: Fans lower the room temperature

The truth: Fans cool people, not rooms.

You see, fans don’t actually lower the temperature of a room, they just make us feel cool because of a phenomenon called the wind chill effect.

Here’s how the wind chill effect works: As the fan moves air over our skin, it causes our sweat to evaporate faster, which gives our bodies the sensation of feeling cool.

All the while, the temperature in the room remains exactly the same.

Because they don’t understand that fans just cool people, some homeowners leave their fans on 24/7, which just wastes energy.

So to save money, only leave your fans on when you’re in the room.  

Myth #3: Turning the thermostat down super low will cool your home faster

The truth: Turning down the thermostat super low doesn’t make your AC cool your home faster. It just means it will run longer, which will raise your energy bills.

Your AC can only cool so much air at one time. So by lowering the thermostat, you’re just telling the system to run longer to reach your desired temperature.

Do this instead: Just set the thermostat to the temperature you actually want your room to be. If it’s taking a long time for your AC to cool your home, contact a professional for help.

Myth #4: You should turn your AC off when you’re not at home to save money

The truth: Turning your AC off during the day will only make your AC run longer to cool your home when you get home. Plus, since your AC dehumidifies your home’s air as it runs, you’ll come home to a humid house if you leave it off all day.

The better way to save money while you’re gone: Turn your thermostat up 7° to 10° from where you normally set it during the day. The Department of Energy estimates that doing so can save you up to 10% on your energy bills.

Since manually adjusting the thermostat can be an inconvenience if you’re in a hurry, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat will let you pre-set a cooling schedule based on your daily activities, so you don’t have to even touch your thermostat as you leave for the house and come home every day.

Related reading:

Myth #5: If your AC isn’t cooling your home well, it means you need a bigger AC

The truth: If your AC isn’t cooling your home well, it rarely means you need a bigger AC. The only situation you’d need a bigger air conditioner is if you’ve made significant changes to your home (i.e., you added a room).

If your AC is having a hard time cooling your home, first try the tips we’ve outlined in the following article: AC Struggling to Keep You Cool? Try These 6 Tips

More often than not, an AC that’s struggling to cool your home needs maintenance or a repair.

So contact a professional if…

  • If you haven’t had your AC maintained this year

  • If you have maintained your AC but it’s struggling to cool your home

Need a pro to fix or maintain your AC?

We’ll send over one of our trusted techs to get your AC back into tip-top shape so you stay cool and save money.


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