If you live in an average climate, chances are your heating and air conditioning systems are costing more to run than you might think. Chances are also high that you’ve heard (and possibly tried) some of the most common heating and cooling myths in the pursuit of cheaper utilities. But are those practices costing you more money or actually helping your system to work more efficiently? We’re debunking some of the most common myths and telling you how to save energy and money on your heating and air conditioning.

The estimated average cost of running central air conditioning for six hours per day in a typical home in the United States has been calculated to be around $120 per month. If you don’t have a high efficiency heating and cooling system, you could be spending upwards of $150 per month just to regulate the temperature in your home.

There are a few common myths that surround heating and cooling systems. Debunking those myths will help you to cut corners and save a ton of energy on your next bill. The first myth says that adjusting your thermostat or turning it on or off when you don’t need it actually wastes more energy than it conserves. This is completely false. Every time you can increase the temperature (or decrease the temperature, in the winter) you’re saving money and energy.

Your heating and cooling system works by regulating the difference between outdoor and indoor temperature. If you’re able to reduce the difference in temperature, by turning your thermostat up 10 degrees or shutting it off when you go on vacation or go to sleep at night, you’ll be saving money. This is because your system doesn’t have to work as hard to heat or cool your house and battle against the outdoor temperature. Consider getting a programmable thermostat to automatically regulate temperature based on parameters you set such as time of day.

Another common myth says that adjusting your thermostat down or up a few degrees will heat or cool your home faster. This is a big, energy-wasting myth. The truth is that your thermostat doesn’t work harder when it’s turned lower or higher than your set temperature, it simply runs longer. So rather than cooling your home down quicker, you’re just causing your air conditioner to work longer to cool your home beyond where you’re comfortable with it. Apart from a programmable thermostat, you can keep your home at a regulated temperature by investing in blinds or curtains to block some sunlight from entering your home. The more direct sunlight you have streaming in through windows, the warmer your home becomes and the harder your heating and cooling system has to work to keep up.

Consider investing in a high efficiency system to keep your home comfortable for less money. Otherwise, remember to raise or shut off the AC in your home when you leave or before you go to bed to save the most money and keep comfortable this summer.

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