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Is bigger, better? Busting A/C and other summer energy myths

Summer is around the corner, but Floridians are already feeling the heat. Did you know weather is the number one cause of higher electric bills?

The main culprit? Yep, you guessed it — rising outdoor temperatures lead to more A/C use, which can account for half or more of your monthly energy costs.

So, with the spring tuneups now behind us, it’s time to start thinking about ways to beat the heat by turning those savings into a summer energy win.

But where to start? Should you replace your A/C unit with a different model? Close the vents in rooms you don’t use? There are a lot of summer energy strategies out there that claim to help you save on your summer energy bill. Luckily, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is here to help you figure out if they’re the real deal, or not. We’re busting some of the most common summer energy myths to help you cool those rising electricity costs.

MYTH 1: Bigger is better … when it comes to AC units. (Bust It)

 

FACT: Size matters, but not the way you think.

An A/C unit that’s too small will have to work too hard to cool your home, while one that’s too big will create extra humidity and may not cool evenly.

Think Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A/C edition. You have to find the unit that is just right for your home’s size.

Check out our A/C buying guide for everything you need to know about picking the perfect air conditioner for your home, including how you can qualify for an FPL rebate by working with a Participating Independent Contractor (PIC)

MYTH 2: Closing vents in rooms you don’t use helps A/C be more efficient. (Bust It)

 

FACT: Go with the (air)flow or it’ll cost you.

 

If your home has a spare room or two, you may be tempted to close the A/C vents, shut the door and forget about it. The thought process is you’re redirecting flow to the rest of the house, therefore cooling it faster and keeping electricity costs lower.

In reality, your A/C is still spending energy trying to cool that part of your house. This is because most A/C units operate as central air systems that distribute air throughout the entire home.

Maintain proper airflow by keeping interior doors and vents open to help air circulate.

 

MYTH 3: Turning off A/C when you leave is more energy efficient. (Bust It)

 

FACT: Your A/C works hard. Don’t make it work harder.

 

The frugal economist in you may want to turn off your thermostat before you leave, just like you turn off the lights in a room you’re no longer using. The truth is, this actually makes your A/C system work harder to cool off your home once you’re back, as temperatures have probably risen a couple of degrees — especially in the dead of a good old Floridia summer.

Instead, adjust the temperature gradually by turning it up a few degrees higher before you leave the house. We recommend the sweet spot of 82 degrees. This way, you’re preventing your home from getting too hot and having to make up for it later.

You may also want to look into smart thermostats, which allow you to change the temperature  while you’re away or even adjust automatically based on your schedule. Available options depend on how much you want to spend.

For more tips on ways to save on your energy bill for home or business, check out the Watt’s Happening blog and keep up with the Watt’s Team!

 

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