Many people have heard of or even remember the sleeping porch. This was an adjunct to a house that had screened-in windows on three sides that let in a breeze and allowed for a comfortable sleep back in the days when home air conditioning was uncommon. Some homes still have sleeping porches. Folks who live in apartments or more modern homes may wonder if simply opening a window instead of automatically turning on the AC can save energy, which translates into saving money. The answer is a bit complicated.
Open Window vs. Air Condition
The end of summer in Illinois brings a crispness to the air when the sun goes down. Many homeowners and apartment dwellers are tempted to turn off the AC and open their windows at night while switching the AC back on during the day. However, this is a bit tricky and may not lower your energy bills. When windows are open, the air inside the house rushes outside, and the air outside comes in. It may not feel like it, but that evening air might actually be warmer than the air in the house. When it’s time to turn the AC on, the unit might have to work even harder than usual to make the house comfortably cool again. Not only that, the air will probably be considerably more humid, as air in the home tends to be dry. This also makes the air conditioning unit work harder. Not only that, but the humidity sinks into fabrics such as carpeting and upholstery and might make the house feel stuffy.
Best Time for Open Windows
Researchers have found out that the best time to open the window and leave off the AC is when the outside temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity levels are low. This keeps the room cool during the night, which ultimately saves money. In the morning, the windows should not only be shut but the blinds should be pulled down and closed. This should be done in the early morning because the air heats up quickly as the sun rises higher in the sky. Some experts recommend that after sunrise the window be kept open for no longer than 20 minutes to prevent any muggy air from seeping in.
When to Keep Windows Shut
The summers around here are notoriously hot and muggy, and so the best advice is to shut the windows, pull the blinds and let the air conditioner run during the hot months. Since opening the window now and then is good for health, it’s still a good idea to crack the window a bit on those cooler evenings. However, opening the windows when the weather has nothing to offer in regards to “cooling” is not ideal.
Location and Insulation
Some of the answers to whether you should sleep with the AC off and the windows open depends largely on where your home is situated and the quality of its insulation. A bedroom whose window has a southern exposure is going to get a lot of sun and will heat up more rapidly than a bedroom whose window has a northern exposure, which means it never gets direct sunlight. Poor insulation can make an AC system work so hard that its lifespan can be shortened because the cooled air is constantly leaking out of the building. This causes the AC to frequently cycle on and off, and frequent cycling is one of the reasons for a shortened working life.
Other Benefits of Open Windows
Besides saving on energy bills, an open window has many health benefits. The inside of a house is full of pollutants, and the bedroom has even more pollutants. Dust, smoke, pollen, dust mites, VOCs and other unpleasant things accumulate in the pillows, the carpeting, the upholstery and the bedclothes. Opening a window now and then washes many of these pollutants out of the room and pulls in fresh, clean air.
Quality Heating and Air Service
Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is pleased to have served the heating and cooling needs of the residents of the Champaign area since 1952. Our Energy Star and EPA-certified professionals pride themselves on their skill and knowledge of all aspects of heating and air conditioning. They make sure they keep up on the latest technologies and strive to be punctual, tidy and courteous at all times. To learn more about our heating and AC services, give Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. a call today!