Globally, 2020 tied for the hottest year on record, according to NASA. And with homeowners likely spending another summer at home working, cooling units are expected to be running on over-drive.
Resideo’s data scientists looked at air-conditioning (AC) runtimes during the last two summers (2019 and 2020) in two separate states1. They found that, after controlling for weather and other factors, the average runtime for air conditioners increased by an average of nearly 12 minutes a day since the pandemic began. And for energy-conscious users, the AC runtime nearly doubled (to 19.5 minutes a day) compared to those who didn't typically use schedules or geofencing to cool their home.
On average, that’s a 6-10% increase in demand on each cooling system last summer. While that data may not surprise you, it’s startling when you consider new work-from-home trends and the compounded impact on your cooling system.
"As work-from-home trends continue this summer and the increase in AC runtime is on-track with last year's trend, our data suggests that AC runtime is expected to increase up to 10% a day this summer," said Matt Robbins, vice president of Global Product Management, Comfort & Care at Resideo. "Any increase AC run time equals more use on the system, which can lessen the life of the system."
Seven Ways to Help Prepare for a Cool Summer
Proper, preventative maintenance is important in any season, and especially important to maintain comfort. Before the cooling season begins, experts suggest homeowners perform a home energy audit, and also contact a professional to tune-up your cooling system.
Following are several tips from Resideo’s products experts to help prepare for summer:
- Schedule a system tune-up. In the spring and early summer months, contractors typically have special deals where they can come to your home and inspect/clean your system prior to the dog days of summer. It's important that they check the "A-coil" and your cooling system's condenser unit for damage and racks as well. It only takes a quick visual inspection and can save you from a hot home, or costly replacement. If you have a whole-home dehumidifier, ask them to inspect it as well.
- Change your air filter. Clogged filters lead to poor circulation, and eventually, premature blower/fan damage. Save some money, make your HVAC system run better/longer, and improve the quality of the air in your home by changing the filter according to the manufacturer's guidelines. More information about choosing the correct air filter here. Replacing a $20 filter four times a year is better than replacing a $300-$500 fan motor.
- Uncover your cooling unit. In some climates, it’s recommended to cover the cooling unit to help protect it from ice and snow damage. Inspect the outside of the cooling as well; ensure your condenser unit is not clogged with dirt/debris or obstructed by weeds, grass or leaves. If your unit is dirty check with the manufacturer recommendations for how to clean it or ask a HVAC professional to assist while they're performing their pre-season tune-up.
- Turn on the system. Before it becomes a priority, turn on your cooling and let it run for 15-20 minutes. You don’t need to get the house cold, but this gives the HVAC time to check itself out and ensure it is operating normally. If your cooling shuts off before meeting the set temperature, you may need a contractor to diagnose and resolve the problem. Ensure the fan is circulating, put your hand over a vent to feel for good air flow and listen for any unusual noises (squeaks, slams or grinding). If you notice or hear anything out of the ordinary, contact your local HVAC professional.
- Check your schedule. If you are using a schedule, check to make sure it meets your needs during summer. To maximize savings, it's recommended to keep your home slightly cooler in the winter and slightly warmer in the summer (so your HVAC system doesn't have to run too often). Even setting it 1 or 2 degrees warmer than you typically keep it in the summer can add a huge savings.
- Adjust your air vents. In the summer, we typically close our air vents downstairs and open the vents upstairs (the cold air from the A/C naturally falls through the house). In the winter, we need to open the vents downstairs and close the vents upstairs (so the warm air naturally rises). It's easier to balance your home during the spring and fall. If you get a room that's getting too hot or cold, you can always adjust the vents before you crank up the thermostat!
- Upgrade your thermostat. From controlling comfort to helping conserve energy, Resideo's Honeywell Home smart thermostats adjust to you, helping save energy by managing themselves around your schedule. Enroll the smart thermostat in an energy saving program, which is run by your energy provider and can help save you money and lessen the demand on the energy grid.
For more information about professionally installed air quality solutions, and to find an HVAC contractor that can help you, visit Resideo.com/findapro.
1 For the period January 1, 2019 through August 1, 2020, Resideo analyzed data from 26,126 Resideo thermostats in Ohio and Indiana. The data scientists monitored differences between schedule-based and non-scheduled-based cooling behaviors.