Thermostat Tips from Your Air Conditioner Service Technician

Most of us do not even want to imagine what life would be like without an air conditioner, especially in Southern California. Unless you live at the beach, your air conditioner is an absolute necessity.

Thermostat settings are largely an individual preference as to what you consider to be home comfort for you and your family. However, if you speak with one of our technicians during your annual air conditioner service appointment about how you can use your thermostat to save money, they will likely provide a few things to remember this winter.

Do not make your AC unit work harder than it should. Follow these tips for keeping your AC running smoothly, so your home will stay cool all season long.


Understand How Your Air Conditioner Works

Air conditioners come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all operate on the same basic premise. An air conditioner provides cold air inside your home or enclosed space by actually removing heat and humidity from the indoor air. It returns the cooled air to the indoor space, and transfers the unwanted heat and humidity outside.

A standard air conditioner or cooling system uses a specialized chemical called refrigerant, and has three main mechanical components: a compressor, a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. These components work together to quickly convert the refrigerant from gas to liquid and back again. The compressor raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant gas and sends it to the condenser coil where it is converted to a liquid. Then the refrigerant travels back indoors and enters the evaporator coil. Here the liquid refrigerant evaporates, and cools the indoor coil. A fan blows indoor air across the cold evaporator coil where the heat inside the home is absorbed into the refrigerant.

The cooled air is then circulated throughout the home while the heated evaporated gas is sent back outside to the compressor. The heat is then released into the outdoor air as the refrigerant returns to a liquid state. This cycle continues until your home has reached the desired temperature.


Thermostat Tips

The thermostat is a climate-controlling device that detects the temperature in the house and regulates your heating and air conditioning system. With the help of some thermostat tips, you can program your air conditioning system to provide you with comfort at all times while also saving you money on your energy bills.

  • Get Your Air Conditioner Serviced Early

The number one air conditioning tip is to get your AC serviced each year. Do not wait until mid-summer when the temperature skyrockets. If you put off that service visit too long and miss a small problem, it can turn into a big one that leaves you sans-AC during the hottest months of the year. Instead, save your money by having your AC unit serviced by an Aire-Tech air conditioning repair professional. Do it once spring is in full swing and the temperature starts to rise, but before you need to run the air conditioner on a regular basis. An annual service should keep your AC unit in peak condition, running efficiently and free of any costly preventable repairs so you can put your summer fun money toward something more enjoyable.


  • Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is much easier to manage because a conventional one requires you to readjust it daily manually. But if you do not want to do that, a smart thermostat is all you need. It is even better if it has a Wi-Fi feature, so you can even control your home temperature if you are away from home.

If you are looking for a programmable thermostat, there are many different types. Some have basic features, while others have more advanced features that allow you to control your home temperature precisely.

Some come with Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can manage your home temperature even when you’re away from home. No matter which type of programmable thermostat you choose, it is important to find one that is easy to use and program so you can get the most out of it.


  • Proper Placement

The placement of your thermostat can significantly impact the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. Certain heating or cooling problems result from a poorly located thermostat rather than the actual system.

Proper thermostat placement is crucial not only for your home’s overall comfort but also for energy use. A mis-located thermostat can gradually increase your monthly utility bills and create additional wear and tear for your HVAC unit.


  • Right Size

If you are upgrading your existing AC unit or building a new house, you should ensure you choose an air conditioner that is the right size. Air conditioner size is synonymous with cooling capacity and is measured in BTUs and tons. One ton equals 12,000 BTUs.

If you choose the wrong size, you will encounter more problems down the road. An AC unit that is too small will run constantly and never reach the set point on your thermostat. On the other hand, an oversized air conditioner will cool your home too quickly and turn on and off frequently. This is known as “short cycling.” It is problematic because turning on and off often uses much more energy than running for longer intervals.

In general, the air conditioner size you need depends mainly on the size of your home and various other factors, such as:

  • Insulation
  • Floor plan layout
  • Natural shade from trees
  • Local climate


  • Adjust the Temperature Gradually

When you change the temperature drastically over a short period, your AC needs a lot of energy. Meanwhile, you can significantly reduce energy consumption by readjusting the temperature little by little until it reaches the level you want. This may take a little patience, but it is effective to avoid a spike in your energy bill. Preventing your system from overwork like this will also keep it in prime condition longer.

The more effort you put into managing your air conditioner thermostat, the more energy you can preserve. That means lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions at the end of the month. You will also put less strain on your AC system. Thus, your system may last long and keep performing optimally.


  • Set Your Thermostat to This Exact Temp

Summertime heat and humidity mean higher cooling costs for the majority of the US as electricity and energy prices are still forecasted to be elevated this summer. But you can try making a quick adjustment to your thermostat that will help keep your utility bills lower as the weather heats up.

For Summer

According to the US Department of Energy, the best technique for staying cool yet minimizing utility costs in summer is to keep your home warmer than usual when no one is home and then setting the temperature as high as comfortably possible when home. Energy Star suggests that homes be kept at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when home during the day, 82 degrees Fahrenheit when sleeping and 85 degrees Fahrenheit when out of the house for maximum savings.


For Winter

According to the US Department of Energy, the ideal indoor temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the day during the winter season. For maximum efficiency, you should also designate eight hours per day during which you turn the temperature down by between 7 and 10 degrees. By following this routine, you may again be able to reduce your yearly energy costs by up to 10%


Sleep Mode

If your air conditioner thermostat has a sleep mode feature, it is highly advisable to take advantage of it every night. Otherwise, you can set it manually. Setting back your thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours while you sleep can help preserve another 10% to 15% of energy. According to studies, our bodies can tolerate higher temperatures. Therefore, we likely will not even feel the temperature rise.


  • Turn off Heat-Emitting Appliances


Appliances that put off heat will make your air conditioner run longer. Why? Because they are heating your home— the exact opposite of what air conditioners do!

Avoid using these common heat emitting appliances and electronics (if you can):

  • Stovetop
  • Oven
  • Tea kettle
  • Coffee pot
  • Computers and monitors
  • Televisions
  • Lights

So, by limiting your usage of these appliances and turning them off promptly when not in use, you will not only save energy by using them less but also by optimizing your air conditioner’s cooling too.


Final Thoughts

As warm weather approaches, it is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home through the scorching months. If you follow the Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist above, your air conditioner will be in a prepared state entering the Spring and Summer months. That’s a pretty nice place to be if you ask me!

You can always count on the Aire-Tech to keep your home cool. Perhaps you need repairs, new thermostat installation, or preventative maintenance—whatever the HVAC issue is, Aire-Tech is ready to help. If your system needs repair or inspection before summer, call us on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.