With temperatures rising in Arizona, air conditioners are running nonstop. This can pull serious electricity, sending bills soaring. As a result, everyone looks for ways to keep cool without spending a fortune
What is super cooling?
Super cooling means lowing the temperature of a home during off-peak electricity hours. By bringing your home as close to 70 degrees as possible before 3 p.m., it has a better chance of staying cool all evening.
Whether you need to avoid using power during SRP’s peak times of 3 to 7 p.m., or you’re avoiding APS’ peak times of 3 to 8 p.m., super cooling can work.
“I set my house to 70 degrees during the day,” explained Mark Stevens of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning.
“But between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., my thermostat is set to 84. That 14-degree difference will rarely be achieved in that time period, which means my A/C unit should never turn on during peak electricity hours. As a result, my house is cool when I get home, plus my electricity bill is reduced.”
Most experts agree it’s best to cool homes to 72 degrees by noon, going down to between 68 to 70 degrees by 3 p.m. when electricity rates go up. From 3 to 8 p.m., the thermostat should be set to go on at 80 to 84 degrees, keeping the AC unit off during peak hours.
Of course, if someone is home during the day, the colder temperatures might make the home less comfortable. Thus, it might not be an ideal solution for everyone, for example stay-at-home moms or retired households.
Will super cooling hurt your AC unit?
Most AC units are designed to keep a house cooled to around 74 to 76 degrees. As a result, super cooling is often said to put more of a strain on a unit. Stevens, though, compares this to driving a car in traffic versus taking a road trip. Cars are more efficient when driving for the long period on the highway, but the vehicle is still running for 10 to 12 hours. Similarly, having a unit on all day to maintain a standard temperature might be more consistent, but the difference in wear and tear will be the same as doing super cooling.
“While super cooling can save money for anyone, you may need to upgrade your equipment to reap the rewards,” said Audrey Monell, CEO of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning.
“Unless you’re at home to check the thermostat, you’ll need a programable one to ensure it turns on and off at the right times. Additionally, upgrading your air conditioning unit to a more efficient model could help you save even more money long term.”
Experts agree motors and exhausts running during the hottest times of the day such as the late afternoon are more likely to burn out. As a result, super cooling could be even more beneficial as your unit won’t be running at those times. That said, it’s still always best to have your AC unit checked out by a professional, especially if you’re planning to keep it running when you’re not at home.
Yes, super cooling can be worthwhile
Super cooling can appear to be counter intuitive because you’re cooling your house when you’re not there. Then again, when you come home in the evening, it also means that you’re not cranking up the AC and hoping the house cools down in time. Instead, you can enjoy a cool house, and a lower electricity bill, with most users who switch to super cooling lowering their bill by about 30%.