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Re: A/C and habitability laws in Georgia
on July 17, 2012 @17:19
Here's an excerpt from an article (credit Columbus Dispatch and reprinted by AEP) which I sent around to my tenants and as a result, I've had fewer calls this year -- and we're consistently in the 100s right now.
Go easy on your air conditioner
Source: Columbus Dispatch
- '20-degree rule' means you should keep your thermostat set on a number that is about 20 degrees less than the temperature outside.
- Accumulated dust and pet hair in the filter can seriously reduce the unit’s efficiency.
- Expert recommends closing the drapes or blinds on the sunny side of the house and turning off heat-producing lights.
With the power back on for most people in central Ohio, a new concern has emerged: How do I keep the air conditioning working with back-to-back days of possible triple-digit temperatures on the way?
Experts say there’s a simple rule for efficiently operating the air-conditioning system in your home during extremely hot weather, but you’ll need to sacrifice some comfort.
It’s called the “20-degree rule,” which means you should keep your thermostat set on a number that is about 20 degrees less than the temperature outside.
“When it’s 100 outside, your house is only going to get down to and stay at 80, maybe 78,” said Clint Schreck, general manager of Columbus/Worthington Air.
Setting the thermostat at 72, or even 75, on 100-degree days, he said, will only add to your electric bill and the wear and tear on your air conditioner. As a result, cooling units are breaking down all over central Ohio, crews are working overtime and it’s taking longer than usual to get repairmen to homes. “Most of what we’re seeing is breakdowns from older units,” said Mark Swepston, owner of the company. “They haven’t shut off for almost a week straight, except for maybe a few hours, early in the morning, maybe at 3 a.m.”
The widespread power outages after Friday’s storm added to the service backlog. “We had people on our schedule (for service) and then their electric went out,” Swepston said. “ They’re on our priority list and we’re getting to them as soon as their power goes back on.”
Experts say there are several things homeowners can do to reduce the strain on their cooling units and help them operate more efficiently.
No. 1: change the filter.
“This is the biggest problem we see, by far,” Schreck said.
All the accumulated dust and pet hair in the filter can seriously reduce the unit’s efficiency.
No. 2: Cleaning the unit located outside the house is also something many homeowners neglect to do.
“It’s as simple as hosing it off,” said Phil Favret of Favret Heating and Cooling. “The worst thing is all the milkweed and cottonwoods. They’ll stick to the outside and block the air flow."
No. 3: He also recommends closing the drapes or blinds on the sunny side of the house and turning off heat-producing lights. “In a room with six or 10 old incandescent lights, that can really generate some heat,” Favret said.
Programmable thermostats are usually an energy saver, but they’re not good when the temperature hits triple digits.
These systems automatically increase the temperature setting four or five degrees during the day, when nobody is home. It then lowers the setting to the original, colder temperature an hour or so before residents arrive home from work.
“The problem is, when it’s this hot out, it takes about an hour to drop the temperature one degree,” Schreck said.
Instead, he said, turn off the programmable feature off and set the thermostat at a constant temperature a few degrees higher than the normal optimal setting.
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