As the temperatures rise, energy bills start to soar. There are all sorts of ways to cut costs and save energy, and an increasingly popular option is supercooling your home. Supercooling is known to help lower utility costs without making you suffer in the heat, but does it really work? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Supercooling?
Supercooling is meant to help your home stay cool without requiring you to spend a lot of money running your air conditioner. This technique involves making your home extremely cold at certain times. For most people, their supercooling period is during the time when electric use rates are at their lowest. This lets you refrain from running your system a lot during peak use times when electricity costs more. Some people may also select supercooling times based on external temperatures. When it is cooler outside, such as in the evening, it may take less power to lower your home’s temperature.
Does Supercooling Actually Save Money?
To understand why supercooling will save you money, you need to know a little about how air conditioners cool a home. An AC unit is always releasing the air at the same chilly temperature. It keeps running until the overall desired indoor air temperature is reached, and then it shuts off. Therefore, your air conditioner is not running at a more intense level during supercooling. It is simply running for a longer amount of time.
During supercooling, you are essentially running your AC nonstop for a few hours and then leaving it off for several hours. In some situations, this might save on the actual amount of energy that is used. Depending on how long you run the AC for, though, your energy usage might be the same or even higher. However, it can work out to be cheaper overall because your electricity is less expensive at certain times of the day.
The exact amount of money saved by supercooling will mostly just depend on your area’s electricity costs. Some regions may only have a slight change in power rates throughout the day, so you might not save as much. However, others have a significant difference in rates for peak hours and off-peak hours. In these cases, you could save hundreds every year. On average, homeowners who use supercooling save about 25% to 35% on their cooling costs.
Is Supercooling Bad for Your AC System?
Something to keep in mind with any energy-saving technique is whether the energy savings are worth any additional wear and tear on your system. However, supercooling is not necessarily going to damage your air conditioning system. It is true that you should not run your air conditioner at its minimum temperature all the time. When an AC system runs nonstop, too much moisture builds up inside, and the coil can start to freeze over. Therefore, it is important to select a supercooling temperature that will still give your air conditioner some breaks every now and then.
For safe supercooling, most experts recommend that you set your thermostat to no lower than 68 degrees. This will make your home feel extra cold without putting any excess strain on your AC unit. The good news is that supercooling can actually extend your system’s life when it is done properly. Since your system remains off for long periods of time, it is not having to cycle on and off. This puts less wear on components like your AC belts, so you may not need to replace them quite as often as usual.
Is Supercooling Actually Comfortable?
Of course, the main thing you probably want to know is whether or not supercooling is actually comfortable. Most people who try it report that it keeps their home feeling very cool during the time that their air conditioning is off. The exact temperatures will depend on several factors, such as the size of your house and the type of insulation that you have. However, supercooling will generally result in your home getting no hotter than the upper 70s at the most.
Depending on when you set your supercooling regimen, you may or may not be at home and awake during the supercooling period, which can comprise a surprisingly chilly few hours. However, turning the temperature up would cancel the effects of your supercooling. Instead, try wearing a sweater and thick socks or bundling up in a blanket. This is an entirely free way of staying warm while you let your AC unit cool your home.
How to Supercool Your Home
The basic idea of supercooling is just to turn your AC as high as you can stand it during certain times and as low as you can handle it during others. To find the right time for supercooling, you need to consider both your energy plan and the overall external temperatures.
Start by checking your home’s energy rates. Some areas may have off-peak billing times between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. while others may have off-peak billing times during midday. During off-peak times, turn your thermostat somewhere between 68 to 74 degrees. During peak rates, turn your AC somewhere between 78 to 85 degrees. This can make a significant difference in your energy expenses.
You can tweak your supercooling schedule for even more efficiency if you also consider the time of day. It is usually most effective to supercool in the evening when it is not as hot outside. Even if your off-peak times start at midday, you may not want to start supercooling until around 3 or 4 p.m. This ensures that you do not waste a bunch of energy fighting against the midday sun.
Make Supercooling Easier With a Programmable Thermostat
For most people, supercooling will be a lot easier with a programmable thermostat. This style of thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature for you, so you do not have to remember to turn it up and down yourself. This ensures that you never forget to start supercooling or to turn off your AC.
The other benefit of a programmable thermostat is that it adjusts the temperature for you. You do not have to be at home to manage it. Therefore, you may be able to supercool your home while you are at work and then come home to find it comfortably cool. Likewise, a programmable thermostat can turn supercooling off and on while you sleep. These thermostats often have smart features that carefully analyze your energy usage. They can offer more ways to save energy with small tweaks to your thermostat settings.
If you want to learn more about saving energy while cooling your home, we can help. Wenbrooke Services can install programmable thermostats, maintain your system, recommend energy-efficient units, and provide other energy-saving services. We also provide a variety of other services to Frederick residents, including installations, repairs, and maintenance on heating, cooling, and electrical systems. Contact us now to schedule a service visit from one of our skilled technicians.