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How to best use your air conditioning

Optimize comfort and keep your A/C running longer
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:02 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s no getting around Virginia’s summer heat, but at least we can cope - mainly due to air conditioning.

We can agree that A/C can help us get through these long, hot summers, but most households have some sort of disagreement over the thermostat. Even Hugh Joyce with James River Air. He is an expert, but he’s not the boss of the thermostat in his house.

“There are certain things that I can’t control in my home, and the thermostat is one of them! The thermostat is set in my house at 68!” Joyce said.

He knows that’s too low, but he can’t win the argument at home. Hugh recommends 72 to 76 degrees as the best setting for most of us during summer.

“We do not recommend a thermostat setting below 70°. [That’s when] units start to freeze up. We get excess condensation in the home, and it becomes very hard to keep the humidity down,” Joyce said.

There’s a little disagreement from the U.S. Department of Energy, which says 78° is ideal to be comfortable and save energy but understands that it might be a little warm for some people.

But like we often say, it’s not the heat - it’s the humidity. It’s called an air conditioner for a reason. Air conditioners take the air inside our house and make it less hot. This is really important, but even more important is the drop in humidity you get when the A/C is on.

So, what would our homes be like in Richmond without A/C? Joyce says, “We would have houses that are highly humid; we have mold and mildew. It would be very hot, and we’d be sweating a lot.”

But people did it for years! Central A/A only became widespread in the 1970s.

So, take care of your A/C unit. Hugh says people should clean their filters and coils; if something sounds wrong, you should fix it immediately.

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