Air Conditioning Units
In terms of turning off, or changing the temperature on your home heating and air conditioning unit while you are away for the day: it is really not a question of, “Is it efficient”, rather it is a question of, “When is it efficient?” They call this a “set point” or “setback” When temperatures fall beneath the milder temperatures of the winter months setting your heat pump thermostat back more than a few degrees is a bad idea and not efficient despite the claims. Even when temperatures are milder setbacks should be no more than 5-10 degrees unless the building will be unoccupied for days or weeks at a time.
Anytime set points are lowered during extremely cold temperatures it is not only the air in the home or business that is lowered but all objects in the space will acclimate to the air temperature as it lowers to the setback set point.
Think about it for moment. You set your thermostat back from its usual controlling set point of 70 degrees to 50 degrees thinking that will save you money while you’re away at work for 8 hours each day. What you may not have considered is that 8 hours is plenty of time for the materials in your home to acclimate to the air temperature of 50 degrees. The greater the temperature difference the quicker the heat transfer will be. So once the building or home temperature falls to 50 degrees the heat still contained within materials such as furniture and so on will quickly be transferred into the colder 50 degree surrounding air. Your system is designed to maintain a certain level of comfort, it is not designed to recover from such a large discrepancy. In the end you will not be comfortable because while your air temperature may recover when you arrive home and return the thermostat setting to your comfort set point of 70 degrees everything else in your home or business will take much longer to recover. Items like your furniture, floors, and so on will be cold, causing drafts and overcoming your system heating capacity. This is because even though your air temperature has warmed all other objects are still at 50 degrees. Remember, the greater the temperature difference the quicker the heat transfer. So the heat in the warmer air will quickly be transferred into the structure and objects within it, still cold from the 8 hour set back of 50 degrees, until they eventually warm to the comfort set point of 70 degrees.
Furthermore, your system will use much more energy than it should, system “life” expectancy will be shortened, and you could cause minor structural damage to your home or business. This would be mostly cosmetic such as drywall nails, which no need no help, popping up through drywall due to expansion and contraction.
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