Should You Leave Your AC On or Turn It Off?

When warm weather comes around, the first thing you do is work on ways to keep cool. Using the air conditioner in your house is one of the best ways to keep the warm weather at Bay inside. There are many downsides to using your AC, but most of the time we don’t think about them. If you go to work or are on vacation, you might be wondering if you should leave your AC on or turn it off.

There are many benefits to leaving it on and leaving it off, and most of it is up to you. This choice is a matter of preference but there are few things that you should think about. Here’s some more information about your air conditioner that you can use to decide whether you want to leave your AC on or turn it off.

Leave Your Ac On Or Turn It Off?

How Air Conditioners Work

Knowing how your air conditioner words can help you understand what you need to do in your house. It can help you make the choice of whether you need to leave your AC on or turn it off. Many people use their ACU during the summer months and it is very essential to understand how the air conditioner works.

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Your AC unit is a heat exchanger. It is a key part of how air conditioners work. The refrigerant and the AC is the material that causes the heat exchange. Its travel through a loop condenses and expands the coils to facilitate the heat exchange process. When the refrigerant expands in the indoor coil becomes cold. This is what absorbs heat from the surrounding air. This process is very similar to having a glass with an ice beverage that sweats. The air very close to that glass is cooler and the condensation is a result of the heat exchange. In your AC in the loop, the exchange causes the surrounding air to cool and a blower moves that are through ducts into parts of your home.

The refrigerant wouldn’t be effective if it stayed in place. Your cooling system removes the heated refrigerant to the outdoor condensing coil. As it’s condensed it becomes extremely hot. This is then released into the outdoor air. If you stand near the outdoor unit while this process is occurring you’ll see that it’s much warmer closer to the system.

Should You Leave Air Conditioner On When You’re Gone

Leaving your air conditioner on throughout the day is more damaging to your system. Several years will be added to the life of your system if you use it only when necessary. If you took this habit, then you’ll also notice but your utility bills are much lower. Most people don’t realize that by changing the temperature on the thermostat by 1° your air conditioner is working at a difference of 5%. This results in saving or wasting your money in the long run. This is why you have to pick the temperature that’s right for you and your family.

However, it’s also not wise to leave your system running at full blast constantly. When your thermostat is running at its highest temperature, it can leave your home freezing cold and drastically increase your energy bill. The cost of running an air conditioner can go up over 2 USD per hour. By switching off your air conditioner when you’re away you’ll see the change in your future bills. Knowing that you’re saving money while using your air conditioner efficiently makes you and your family happier. It’s best to not leave your AC running when you’re gone. You can leave it on a low setting if you want to. The best option for most people is create a schedule with the programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you’re not around. This will allow the system to be off or run at lower speeds more often.

This changes if you have pets. If you have pets you need to do what’s best to them and make sure that they’re comfortable while you’re gone. Do not turn your temperature up to save money because back in time on your animals. Keep it at a temperature that’s comfortable for them while you’re gone. This is probably a little lower than what you have it on when you’re there, but otherwise that’s the best choice to keep your animals healthy and alive.

Things to Consider

There are a lot of things that you need to consider when it becomes the season when you using your AC.

The length of your vacation is the first factor that you need to consider. If you’re only gone for a short time, then it’s better to keep the air conditioner on but set at a higher temperature. A short amount of time would be like a day or two. Cooling an empty house to the temperature you’d be comfortable at while you’re home can be wasteful and unnecessary since you aren’t there. It might seem like it puts some strain on your AC to return a hot house to a comfortable temperature, but this is a myth. If your air conditioner is working correctly you should return your house to the proper temperature easily.

You can save energy and keep the humidity level under control by leaving it on. One thing that you can do is get a programmable thermostat. This allows you to set the desired temperature at varying times so that it can turn on and off automatically. Set the temperature up between seven and ten degrees higher than normal while you’re away for short periods of time. You might also want to close the curtains before you leave so that this will block the afternoon sun and keep your home cooler.

For longer vacations with no one will be in your home for a week or more you’ll save the most energy and cause by turning the AC completely off. You can use your programmable thermostat to begin to cool the home a day or so before your return. Remember the safety and comfort of any animals that will be left in your house.

Another factor to consider is the weather. Check the local forecast for the time that you’ll be away. This will play an important role and whether to turn the AC on or off. If the weather will be mild as best as turn the AC off since there’s minimal risk of heat build-up. If the forecast is predicting we’re very high temperatures then consider keeping the AC on a low setting. This will prevent your cooling appliances from running over time to compensate for high temperatures in your home. Indoor temperature is about 80° can cause distress to any pets left at home so you might want to keep that in mind.

Overall, efficiency should be another thing that you consider. This will determine if you should turn your cooling system off while you’re away. Homes with good attic insulation, lower air infiltration and efficient windows will have a higher resistance to heat buildup. If you have a high resistance to heat build-up and you might as well turn your AC off. Adding solar window films (view on Amazon) or thermal drapes (view on Amazon) can improve insufficient windows. If you can minimize air leaks in your home you will be able to retain cool temperatures for a long time.

Remember to consider the protection of other parts of your home. Keeping air circulated in your home while you’re away will help your system do an important part of his job. This involves keeping the humidity down inside. Moisture holds heat which will make your system work hard to cool down your home when you return. In general, you want to keep moisture out of your house because this can cause mold and mildew issues, especially if you’re away for an extended period of time and heat is allowed to be in closed spaces. This will impact wood floors, doors and cabinetry in your home so be careful.

Reducing Your Cooling Bills

The first thing you can do is buy a programmable thermostat. If you turn your central air off or try to prevent the temperature from rising when you’re out of the house, a programmable thermostat can greatly increase the cold before you get home. This helps your house be comfortable as soon as you walk in the door. You need to buy a thermostat that suits your cooling and heating systems. Some models don’t work with heat pumps and this can cause an issue in the winter so check with whoever installed services in your home. If you use a window unit, an Appliance timer can serve a similar purpose and newer models can include a timer with it.

You also might want to buy ceiling fan. Ceiling fans don’t necessarily chill a room but they can move air across your skin, which makes you feel cooler in higher temperatures. This allows you to set the thermostat higher without sacrificing your comfort. Because of that it can be a waste energy to leave a ceiling fan on when you’re gone. It’s not meant to cool your entire house but it can make individual rooms more comfortable.

Another thing that you can do is plant some bushes. Large, shady bushes that are planted on the South and West sides of your house can reduce the heat gain during the day. You might also want to include some air-purifying plants inside of your house to make the air inside more comfortable. Another thing that might help is having trees on your property.

Lastly, you can create crosswinds in your house. The easiest way to cool down the house is to open a window but you don’t want to open it too much. The less you open it the more of a draft to go create. It can be a great natural air freshener. You can create cross breezes in a one story house or a single room like cracking one window’s bottom sash and another stop sash. If you live in a two-story house open a window on the first floor a small amount and another window upstairs on the opposite side of the house. You can usually experiment to see which windows work best for you and how much you should open them.

Now that you know a little bit more about cooling your house down, you can make a better decision about leaving your AC on or turning it off. You should leave it on if you’re gone for short periods of time and turn it off if you’re going to be gone for a week or longer.