How Windows Can Affect Your Air Conditioning
Windows are a part of every home’s design. Their size, shape, and placement are all taken into account when it comes to aesthetics, but most people don’t put a lot of thought into how windows can affect their air conditioning system.
The truth is that windows can have either a positive or negative effect on your air conditioning system, and not knowing how to utilize them – or minimize their negative impact – is just a simple waste of cool air and money!
Close Those Windows!
This seems like common sense, but the main way windows can affect your air conditioning is by leaving them open while the AC is on. You won’t be cooling your home at all, because not only is the cool air escaping, but the hot air from outside will be free to flow in as well. This is thought to work by many people, but they are simply defeating the purpose of their air conditioner by leaving the windows open.
Opening the windows isn’t always a bad idea, though. If you want to open up the windows at night to enjoy the cool (and free) air, make sure the air conditioner is turned off! This will save energy, and you might also get the opportunity to relax to the sounds of the great outdoors while you fall asleep!
Some people believe that the open window method allows fresh air in and the air conditioner cools it. But if your air conditioner has been serviced recently, including replacement filters, the air that is coming into your home will be anyway.
Carefully Place the Thermostat
Another way the windows can affect your air conditioning is by having the thermostat too close to a window or in the direct line of sunlight. This can skew the thermostat’s ability to tell how hot or cold it is in the room, meaning that your system could be running when the room is actually comfortable. This wastes energy and could quickly make the room too cold.
When considering where to place your thermostat, pick a place in your home that is free of windows like a hallway or an interior wall. Some people even choose to put them in their bedroom for convenience and to hide them. This is one of the only ways to make sure that it will not be affected by fluctuating outdoor temperatures. If your thermostat is in a bad place, talk with a contractor about moving it to a better location in your home.
When you have a lot of uncovered windows, you have to be careful that they don’t let in too much light during the summertime, creating a situation similar to our planet’s Greenhouse Effect. While it’s a good thing for planet Earth inhabitants, making the temperature just right for our necessary living conditions, it isn’t so great for your home. The sun’s light (heat) will get caught in your home and heat it from the inside, while your air conditioner works to cool it back off.
The best way to avoid this scenario is to block the light from naked windows during the summertime with blinds or curtains. You can buy insulated varieties which will not only block the sun but reflect its rays as well. The insulation works both ways, blocking the outside heat while also keeping the inside temperatures cool.
Use Them (If You Can!)
Before air conditioning, homes were designed to use their windows for cooling purposes as well as making the home seem more open and airy. The idea behind the design was to position windows across from one another, on opposite sides of the house or just across the room, in order to create a natural draft. Open them all, and the air will flow straight through as long as there are no large obstructions or walls in between.
When designing your home or buying a home that’s already built, consider this smart design that uses the windows to cool rather than having to constantly fight against the heat they produce. Designing your home with the windows placed strategically may even allow you to turn the air conditioning off for most of the season, cooling your house with convection and air flow except on the hottest of days.