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In other cases, the thermostat may be located in an area of the home that just typically warmer than other areas of the house. It could be a sunny area, a kitchen space, or some other location that just collects more heat. In this scenario, the compressor (and your wallet) will simply be depleting itself for there is no need, during the summer, to be continuously running on turbo in an attempt to cool (what the thermostat thinks) is an overly warm house. When, in actuality,this area may be serviceable by exhaust fans or a ductless heat pump. But, because the thermostat is doing its job, responding to the climate of the area, but expending the extra effort as if the entire house is as warm as the zone where the thermostat is located means that you are wasting lots of energy and money. Meanwhile,the wasted energy may go unnoticed, as there does not seem to be problem with your system. The central ac is simply doing its job, as it is a refreshing 76 degrees in your room, the bathroom, and the kitchen. Indeed, it is doing its job. But, easily and efficiently? No. It is depleting both excess energy, and the life of your appliance, as the compressor continuously runs until that conditioned air finds its way back around to the thermostat. As the cooler months roll around, you may experience the opposite problem, as the thermostat of the central air system does NOT respond as it should to the cooler temperatures in the rest of the home. Because thermostat believes that your home is warmer than it actually is, you and your housemates may find yourselves uncomfortable, or cranking up the heat which only results in a loss of your money and energy, again.
On the other hand, you may have a thermostat that is in an area that is cooler than the rest of the house. It could be a more shaded area, or a place where less heat tends to collect for one reason or another. So, during the summer, the thermostat reads that all is well, and slows or stops the compressor from sending in any cool air. This, alone,does not cause an energy consumption problem; as the air conditioning unit believes that its job is done, so it goes into “economy” or “energy saving” mode. The central air may as well be off, as it is not responding to the hot or humid conditions of the other zones, as the zone-specific thermostats of a ductless air unit or ductless heat pump would. If you are comfortable disregarding the fact that your air conditioner is not actually CONDITIONING THE AIR, and that spaces of the house remain warm, stagnant, and humid, this is may not be that problematic, energy wise. (Although, in this case it is actually a waste of power, as low RPM maintenance mode air conditioning still requires energy, which is an absolutely needless waste if the appliance isn't doing its job. You might as well just turn it off and go camping!) However, most of us would prefer our homes to have comfortable air temperature, and quality, and will not just stand by as our air conditioning appears to have gone to sleep. But the central air thermostat just doesn't seem to agree with us about what 76 degrees is supposed to feel like in our bedroom. So, we set out to have words with this thermostat. We decide to TRICK this central air thermostat. We challenge this thermostat to turn our homes into an igloo, setting the temperature down towards the low 60s or 50s in order to hear that reassuring ramping up of the compressor. Ahhh, we fooled it.
But not really. If the central air conditioning unit is functioning correctly, it will do exactly what you told it to do, cooling the space in its proximity to arctic ranges in order to bring your warm corner back to 76, where you are comfortable again. You may not notice, because you may just leave it alone since it is apparently doing its job again with a little tweaking. What difference does it make if its 60 is your 70? The thermostat must just be a little “off” in its measurements, you think, and the 10 degree difference insignificant. But this is an incredibly INEFFICIENT way to cool a space, much like using a giant bag of ice and a desk fan. It doesn't work well, causing your entire central air conditioning system to work overtime, and ultimately cost way more in energy than the results are worth. You may go a month, or even an entire season before you begin to notice the waste, as your power consumption and bill grows. Again, you are pressuring your central air system to create a pocket of extreme cool, constantly, in the hopes that it may creep throughout the house in small doses. And again, conversely, you may have the problems with the heat pump in the winter that you had, in the previous scenario, with the heating. Because the central air thermostat believes the house is cooler than it actually is, it is set out to continuously warm the air in areas where it is not needed.
Regardless of your qualms regarding central units, mini splits offer a great alternative. You install it in only the rooms you want to heat or cool and forget about the rest. No more fiddling with the thermostat in hopes that this one spot will be the exact temperature you want. The indoor portion of a mini split is it's own thermostat. It can sense the temperature of the air in the room and can adjust accordingly. Not to mention most brands and models of mini splits offer the ability to change the position of the louvers on your indoor unit so you can direct the air in a specific spot if you so wish. Not only does a mini split offer you more control over temperature, it also offers energy, and money savings as well. What more could you want out of an air conditioner/heat pump?