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In southern states like Georgia, central air conditioners are considered standard equipment. Around 85 percent of households in the South have them, and 67 percent use them all summer long. Compared with fans, however, AC systems consume a considerable amount of energy. Rising utility bills can leave you wondering if simple ventilators are a better option. When it comes to your indoor comfort, is an air conditioner really necessary?

The Science of Cooling

No matter what the weather is outside, your body generates a lot of heat. Temperature control, convection and evaporation offer you three ways to cool off:

  • Air conditioning prevents your body from overheating by keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.
  • Air movement increases the amount of evaporation from your skin, leaving you feeling up to 4 degrees cooler.
  • Air circulation helps dissipate the convective heat caused by your metabolism by wafting it away from your body.

While fans don’t actually cool the air, their wind chill effect can keep you feeling comfortable up to a point. Once the temperature tops 85 degrees, however, it takes a well-functioning air conditioning system to keep you cool.

The Role of Humidity

Even the best designed whole-house ventilation system won’t keep you comfortable in humid climates like Georgia. A university study of fan-powered ventilation found that supplemental air conditioning is needed to control indoor humidity. That’s because AC systems not only extract heat from the air, but water vapor as well. They’re your best option for balanced humidity levels year round.

Air Quality Issues

Depending on the type you use, fans can impact indoor air quality. A window fan, for example, blows outdoor pollutants into your home. In contrast, a ceiling fan offers the cooling effect you want without bringing outdoor air inside. Whole-house ventilators work by exhausting hot air outside. Windows must be left open to prevent backdrafting gases from fuel-burning appliances into living spaces.

At Pendley Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., we offer an array of products designed for the unique comfort challenges of Northwest Georgia. To learn more about which options are best for you, call us today at (770) 382-1221.

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