HVAC Debates: Should I Leave My A/C Off to Save Money?

HVAC Debates: Should I Leave My A/C Off to Save Money?

It’s a common question during the cooling season: Should you leave the central A/C on all day while no one’s home, or is turning your A/C off a better option? Coming home to a comfortably cool house on a hot day is a pleasant experience. But is it worth the energy expense of running the air conditioner all day long when nobody’s home? For the most part, it’s a matter of personal comfort preference vs. dollars and cents.

Certainly, if you have pets in the home, you must take their safety and comfort into account. For most breeds of dogs and cats, veterinarians recommend maintaining indoor temperatures no higher than 78 degrees. If it’s a humans-only house, however, here are some facts to help you make an informed decision about turning your A/C off—or not:

  • Any way you look at it, running the air conditioner all day long, even at a higher thermostat setting, incurs more energy expense than shutting it off entirely. The 10 minutes or so of continuous operation required to cool the house when you come home is not a major factor in energy expense as opposed to leaving the system running all day.
  • Shutting down the system while you’re gone also eliminates hours of daily wear and tear on critical components, including the A/C compressor (generally the most expensive item in the system), as well as the blower fan and system coils. You may get longer service life and delay costly repairs by turning your A/C off.
  • What about the stress of cooling down a hot house after the air conditioner’s been off all day? Won’t it overload the unit? Actually, no. Air conditioners are engineered to be most efficient when the cooling load inside the house is highest. They actually remove more heat faster — and sustain less wear and tear — while briefly cooling down a hot house when you come home than while cycling on and off every few minutes all day long to maintain a cool temperature while you’re away.

For more facts about turning your A/C off while you’re gone, contact the experts at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc.

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