Air-conditioning has become a vital resource in our daily lives, especially in summer. On a hot day in August, we cannot stand to be in the car, office, in a restaurant or the cinema even for five minutes without the cooling that it provides for us.
Although it is a faithful ally against the heat, air-conditioning can also damage your health and your pocketbook if you do not use it correctly.
Air-conditioning and your health
Don't put the air-conditioning below 25ºC. Your comfort will not increase, but your energy consumption will increase (and energy costs money) as well as consequences to your health.
The Sociedad Española de Neumología [Spanish Society of Pulmonology] states that 20% of colds and half of sick days are caused by this is summer. Although it is not the sole responsible factor, air-conditioning is largely to blame.
Problems begin when a dry environment (lower than 30% relative humidity) is combined with a temperature that involves a difference that is 10ºC greater than the outside. This is when your throat and your entire respiratory system begin to suffer.
Poorly used air-conditioning is enough to convert your house into a dry and cold place. Pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, ear infection... the list of illnesses is long and there are also muscular problems (contractures) and migraines if the air-conditioning is directed at the head or back.
Air-conditioning and your pocketbook
It is estimated that during the month of July alone, power consumption increases by some 7 kWh due to the use of air-conditioning, which is approximately equivalent to 30 euros more on the bill.
If the situation persists into August and September, summer can become expensive. To avoid having your power bill leave you shivering, it is best to follow these four tips:
- Keep the stable temperature at about 25ºC.
- Be sure to close doors and windows so that hot air from outside does not come in. Use curtains and awnings and lower the blinds. The less light, the less heat.
- Service your air-conditioning: a dirty system, with coolant gas leaks or poor functioning can increase your bill by up to 20% due to the necessity of using more power.