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AC Tip: Constant Use Better Than Intermittent

Posted at 11:21 AM, Jun 27, 2012

As temperatures heat up, so does business at Chapman Heating and Air Conditioning in Clermont.

Owner Jeff Chapman has more than 30 years in the cooling business and shared his expertise with RTV6's Jenna Kooi, as Indianapolis prepares for triple-digit temperatures.

Chapman noted that a central air-conditioning unit might never get a room to the temperature at which the thermostat is set. He said there is usually only a 15-degree difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures.

For example, if it's 100 degrees outside, an AC unit will only get the room temperature to about 85 degrees, even if the thermostat is set lower.

"So, there are some comfort levels -- 76, 78, 82, 85 degrees -- that are really more comfortable than you might think because the humidity is gone, but the mental portion of looking at 85 degrees is tough," Chapman explained.

Chapman said it's actually OK to keep the thermostat set at a lower temperature, even if that means the AC will run all day.

The electric bill will be somewhat higher, but the expensive A/C equipment will be better served.

"It's like the wear and tear on your car. There is greater wear and tear going through the city -- stop and go, stop and go -- than getting on the interstate and running for three or four hours," said Chapman.

He also recommended keeping that fan button pressed to "On" and not "Auto," because even if the AC kicks off, the fan will still circulate the cool air, keeping the home cooler for longer.

The best bet on these hot days, according to Chapman, is to pick a temperature that's comfortable, set it and walk away.

But what should that temperature be?

"I get that question a lot over the years. I almost laugh. It's like, 'Tell me your favorite color.' I don't know," Chapman said.

But, he did tell RTV6 he sets his thermostat to 78 degrees and said 78 and 76 are recommended temperatures. And, he said routine maintenance of the AC unit and simple acts, such as closing the blinds during the day, can pay off in cutting energy costs.