Should You Turn Your AC Off When You Leave Home?

Your air conditioner is typically one of the biggest power usages in a home- if not the biggest. Because of this, some people try to only use the AC when they’re actually at home. Other schools of thought say that constantly rebooting your air conditioning unit is inefficient for the machine, ultimately costing more money when you turn your AC off and on every time you leave. So what is the best cost-effective strategy when it comes to leaving your home for large stretches of time?

Does Turning Your AC Off Save Money?

When it comes to leaving your home empty all day, many people think that running an AC unit throughout their absence would be a waste of power. However, this is entirely dependent on the target temperature, as well as a few other factors such as the amount of sun coming through your windows, the weather outside, or whether ceiling fans are running. 

Your AC unit doesn’t necessarily work harder to keep your home at a cool temperature throughout the day. Instead, it works longer. When it runs all day, your AC simply regulates the temperature as needed, and when it’s turned on after being inactive all day it runs until the temperature is brought down all at once. 

If you’re going to be gone for many hours- say, leaving in the morning and returning after sundown- then your air conditioning unit will probably work just as much keeping your home at a steady temperature by running off and on all day as it would running for a long period of time to cool it down all at once when you come back. So, unless you’re going to be gone for multiple days, the difference between the two options is probably going to be pretty insignificant.

Alternatives to Turning the AC Off

A great way to get the best of both worlds is to turn your unit to a slightly higher temperature rather than turning the AC off completely. This will keep the temperature from getting too high while it’s unattended, but it won’t be running as long as it would be to maintain the temperature you prefer to enjoy when you’re home.

Especially if you live somewhere hot and humid, having the AC on at least a little throughout the day will be beneficial to the interior of your home, as AC units dry out the air as well as cool it down. It will also keep your home from needing too long to bring its temperature back down when you return.

Programable Thermostat

Using a programable thermostat will help you manage your temperature without having to remember to set it every day. Some thermostats even let you plan the temperature for the coming week, allowing you to control the temperature while you’re out of town. When you return home, your house or apartment will be able to readjust to a comfortable temperature quickly.

Of course, if you live in an area with a very mild climate, being gone for multiple days might not raise your home’s interior temperature too high. If you think you’ll be satisfied while waiting for your air conditioner to catch back up to the normal expectation, then you can probably comfortably get away with turning your AC off for a few days.

Ellis Air Conditioning and Heating Can Help

Give Ellis Air Conditioning and Heating a call if your energy expenses continue to rise after you’ve tried our suggestions. It’s possible that your air conditioner needs to be repaired or replaced to function properly. Our staff will assess your present HVAC issue and recommend a customized solution that meets your needs–all while staying inside your budget!

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