Fall Home Comfort: Open Your Windows or Run Your HVAC system?

Our local area is known for our comfortable autumn weather. The remnants of summer can still be felt well into September, but temperatures start to cool down from October on. It can be tempting to open your home’s windows under such conditions, and for good reason. Doing so will allow you to enjoy the fresh, cool fall air. However, there are instances where running your HVAC system makes more sense than cracking the windows open. Custom Air Systems discusses this further below.

The Benefits of Opening Your Windows

Opening your windows has its benefits. The more outdoor breezes you catch, the higher the oxygen levels indoors, which can improve one’s health and well-being. This simple task can also enhance your sleep. To maximize the breeze in your house, make sure your windows are open on as many sides and levels of your house as you can manage.

If you have windows on the opposite side of your house, consider opening them as well to ensure consistent air circulation and create what’s called cross-ventilation. Here, cool breezes from outside enter the set of windows on one side while stale indoor air escapes out the set on the other side. Also, you don’t have to fully open your windows; keeping them half-open or creating an opening of only a few inches is enough to maintain a pleasant breeze throughout the day or night. Open your interior doors for the best results; shutting them will disrupt airflow through your living spaces.

Perhaps the most important benefit of keeping your windows open has to do with energy efficiency. Letting cool breezes in through your windows while your air conditioning system is turned off will help lower your energy expenses. Doing so will also keep your unit from overheating or suffering unnecessary wear and tear. To circulate fresh air further, take advantage of your indoor ceiling fan. Turn it on to aid in cross-ventilation. You might find yourself even more comfortable when the air comes from two different directions.

The Disadvantages of Opening Your Windows

Opening your windows to harness autumn air for comfort and energy efficiency, however, has its downsides. For example, what if you leave the windows open a few inches and a downpour suddenly occurs when no one’s home? You could come home to find your interior sills, the surrounding walls and flooring and indoor furniture and decor sopping wet. Remember that moisture remediation can be costly, depending on how significant the damage is.

Also, there’s always the threat of outdoor pollutants making their way indoors. While fresh air and gentle breezes can help you sleep better, the presence of pollen and allergens can have the opposite effect. If you find yourself with a stuffy nose or sore throat after sleeping for long hours with the windows open, you may have to close them the next time you go to bed and turn your HVAC system on instead. With your HVAC equipment on, you’ll not only feel more comfortable, but you can also be sure it will filter out the small airborne particles scattered throughout your house.

Location is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to open your windows or rely on your HVAC system for comfort. Living in a quiet neighborhood away from the city and major roads means there’s more fresh air that can be brought indoors by opening the windows. If you live near areas with heavy traffic or pollution, you should only keep your windows open for a few minutes every day. Leaving them open for long periods of time will quickly lower the quality of the air you breathe at home, exposing you and your family to respiratory issues.

Which Option Is Better?

Your decision to crack the windows open or keep the HVAC system running when the weather is mild will depend on your location, the amount of insulation you have in your home and the types of pollutants you’re dealing with every day. It makes sense to open your windows this fall to ensure comfort and reduce energy consumption, but if doing so is causing respiratory issues for you or another family member, you’d be better off relying on your HVAC system to get rid of the pollutants. Alternatively, you could still open your windows–but only slightly,–for about 15 minutes a day to air out your home and ensure adequate ventilation.

Ensuring HVAC Efficiency This Fall

Even when you don’t open your windows, you can still save on energy bills by making sure your HVAC system runs efficiently at this time of the year. Below are some comfort tips to keep in mind during this seasonal change:

  • Clean the outdoor unit – Dead leaves, dirt and other debris may have accumulated near or around your HVAC system’s outdoor unit over the past few months. Remove them promptly to minimize the risk of shortening its lifespan.

  • Clean or replace the filters – HVAC filters trap dust, pet dander, mold and other allergens from the outdoor air. Don’t let them get too dirty; clean or replace them regularly to keep your home comfort equipment running efficiently.

  • Invest in a programmable thermostat – Consider upgrading to a better thermostat, preferably a programmable one. It’s among the best tools you can use to save on heating and cooling costs.

  • Seal leaks around your house – Making sure you have adequate insulation is crucial to keeping comfort levels consistent while avoiding excessive energy consumption that leads to high utility bills. Insulate the attic and ensure the windows and doors are properly sealed.

Of course, you’ll want your HVAC system inspected and repaired in preparation for the colder months. Turn to Custom Air Systems for regular preventative maintenance. We offer various maintenance programs that can fit any budget, all designed to keep your system up and running at peak efficiency.

When you sign up for a program with us, our team of expert technicians will come to your home and replace or clean your filters and provide complete safety and visual inspections of your HVAC system’s interior and exterior components. We’ll also make sure to address any problems with repairs to prevent system failure.

You can count on us for HVAC installation and replacement needs as well. Call (281) 489-1830 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.