Will Opening My Windows at Night Save on Electricity?
When the temperature outside rises, most people head indoors to enjoy the comfort of their air-conditioned homes. But that comfort comes at a cost. Even the most efficient HVAC systems can cost quite a bit to operate in the summer. And as soon as those bills begin to arrive, the search for ways to save on electricity costs begins.
Now, if you’re like most people, you’d probably start your search by looking for opportunities to turn off your air conditioning. And that always leads to the same question: should I sleep with the windows open to save electricity?
It turns out that the answer’s not as straightforward as you might think. Here’s everything you need to know to come up with a money-saving strategy that works for you.
Understanding HVAC Electricity Use
On its face, the idea of opening up your windows and turning off your air conditioner seems like a good idea. As long as you’re still able to sleep comfortably, it makes perfect sense. But the reality is a little more complex than that.
To understand why, you must first understand how air conditioners use electricity. And you might be surprised to find out that much of the time, your home’s air conditioner uses about the same amount of power as a large fan. It only draws more electricity when its compressor turns on. And it shouldn’t ever be running continuously.
If your home’s air conditioner is in good condition and is adequate for the size of your home, it should only cycle on for between 15 and 20 minutes, two or three times per hour. But there are some times when it may need to run for longer than that — and that’s where things get complicated.
Will Sleeping With the Windows Open Help?
Whether or not opening your windows at night will save you money comes down to a few factors. The first is the outside temperature. Here in the Meridian area, the average low temperature at night during the summer is approximately 61 degrees. Under those conditions, you should be able to save some money by turning off your air conditioning and sleeping with the windows open.
The reason is that the outdoor air should be cool enough to prevent the indoor temperature from rising overnight. But — and there’s always a but — there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. The first is that you’ll need to be mindful of when the temperature begins to rise in the morning. If you’re up early enough to close the windows before it gets hotter, you’ll likely save some money. Otherwise, you’ll give back those savings by running your air conditioner to drive out the morning heat.
What Else to Watch Out For
The timing of opening and closing your windows isn’t the only thing you’ll want to keep in mind. It’s also important to consider how humid the outside air is when you’re opening the windows. That’s because one of the things that will force your air conditioner to use more electricity is excess moisture in the air.
Moist air will trap more heat than dry air. Humid conditions will also feel comparatively hotter to anyone in your home. And once you let humid air inside by opening the windows, you’ll have no choice but to let your air conditioner run for as long as it takes to get rid of it. In those cases, you’ll substantially reduce any amount of savings you achieved by sleeping with the windows open in the first place.
Open Windows With Care
To summarize, it is often possible to save some money by turning off your air conditioning and sleeping with the windows open. The key to realizing those savings, though, lies in when you choose to do so. If you can make sure to open your windows when it’s cool outside and close them again before it gets hot, you’ll be off to a good start.
And if it’s humid outside, your best bet is likely to keep your windows closed. The amount you’d save by opening the windows on nights like that isn’t worth the discomfort and extra wear and tear on your air conditioner. In other words, your results will depend on developing a smart strategy and sticking to it.
Of course, all of this depends on your home’s air conditioner being in good condition and running efficiently. And we at A-1 Heating Air Conditioning & Electric can help you with that. So if you’re ready to save some money on your cooling costs this summer, contact us today! We provide heating, cooling, and electrical services.