You’re probably familiar with the high-power bills that summer can bring. If you’re hoping to save a few dollars — or more! — next month, perhaps you’re considering turning off the air conditioner whenever you’re gone. You may figure that there’s no sense in paying to cool your house when no one’s there. While shutting down the system could be an option, you may do better with another approach to cooling control this summer.
Costs Associated With Turning Off The AC
Perhaps you’ve heard the idea that it costs more to restart your system on a regular basis than to just keep it running. That’s not necessarily true. Starting up the system doesn’t draw so much power that you’re going to cause your bills to skyrocket. It is possible that you could spend less money by leaving the air conditioning off while you’re gone.
However, that approach only makes sense if you are gone for at least several hours at a time. For instance, you could consider lowering your power expenses if everyone is away from home for eight hours each workday. Turning it off every time you run to the store for an hour would be much less sensible.
Even if your home sits empty for much of the day, though, turning off the cooling system may not be your best bet. There is more to consider in this situation than just the number on your monthly electric bill.
Wear on the System From AC Shutdown
While restarting your air conditioner every few days won’t necessarily ruin your power bills, it could put a strain on your system.
Each time, you’ll be asking your air conditioner to start back up and then bring your hot house down to a comfortable temperature. That’s a big job. Once you get home, the AC will need to run for quite a few cycles to achieve your goal temp.
Letting the air conditioner hold your house at a reasonable temperature throughout the day allows it to operate more efficiently. It may put less pressure on the AC components, and that could save you on repair or replacement costs.
Now, that doesn’t mean that turning your AC off now and then is going to cause you to need a new unit in just a year or two. Your system is designed to turn off and on as needed — for example, on a beautiful day that’s just right for open windows and a fresh breeze. However, shutting down and restarting the system every single day is another matter, and it has the potential to cause premature wear.
Problem of Coming Home to a Hot House
Even if the cost savings are tempting, and you’re not worried about taxing your system, there’s another matter to consider. If you turn off your air conditioner whenever you leave, you will end up returning to a very hot house. Considering how warm summers in the La Puente area can be, this is something you’ll want to keep in mind.
Sure, you can turn the air conditioning back on as soon as you enter the house. That doesn’t mean that your home will automatically become comfortable, though. Rather, it can take several hours and many cycles to bring the temperature back down to a pleasant level. If you don’t get home until evening, it may be nearly bedtime before you reach that point. The money savings associated with turning off the AC may not be worth sacrificing your comfort.
Pets in a Warm Home
If there are animals in your home, then you’ll want to think about them too. Just because all the people are gone, that doesn’t mean your pets are away as well. Turning off the air conditioner could leave your furry friends quite uncomfortable during the day. It might even result in unsafe conditions for your animal companions.
For your pets’ sake, choose to leave your air conditioner running throughout the day. They’ll get the benefit of staying cool while you’re gone, and you’ll get the bonus of coming home to a comfortable house.
Humidity Benefits of Leaving Your AC Running
Even if your home is empty of both people and animals, leaving the AC on could be the safer choice. Your air conditioner helps to control the humidity level in your home during the summer months. When the cooling system isn’t running, your indoor air could become quite humid.
High humidity can do a number on your home and its furnishings. Problems associated with high humidity levels include peeling paint and curling wallpaper. Humidity can also warp wood. That can cause damage to your furniture, your door and window frames, and your wood floors.
Plus, mold and mildew grow well in humid environments. Those organisms aren’t just destructive to your linens, furnishings, and walls. They can also be bad for your health. Mold and mildew can cause respiratory issues, especially for people with mold allergies. The symptoms can include sniffles, coughing and a scratchy throat. In addition to respiratory issues, mold can cause rashes and eye irritation.
Alternative Methods of Cooling Control
Instead of turning off your air conditioner whenever you leave, look at other ways that you could save on cooling costs this summer.
First, consider adjusting your indoor air temperature when you’re gone instead of powering down the AC entirely. Raising the cooling setting by just a few degrees can make a big difference in how much you pay for power. Energy Star and the Department of Energy suggest that your away temperature should be 7 degrees higher than your preferred at-home temperature. You’ll save money and energy by making that adjustment without needing to turn off the whole system.
A smart thermostat makes it easy to raise and lower the air conditioner settings as needed. If your family keeps a regular schedule, you can program the system to bring up the temp as soon as everyone leaves for the day. You can schedule it to go back down shortly before your family returns in the evening. If someone’s schedule changes, you can start the cooling process sooner right from the convenience of your thermostat’s smartphone app. Plus, you can set up different schedules for weekdays and weekends.
There are additional ways to save money on your cooling costs that don’t involve frequently turning off your AC.
- Drawing the window shades during the day
- Running a fan in addition to your air conditioner
- Adding more insulation to your home
- Changing the air conditioner’s filter regularly
- Having an AC tune-up performed annually
- Replacing your air conditioner with an energy-efficient model
When you have questions about your heating or cooling system, turn to Temp Air System Inc. in La Puente. Our NATE-certified technicians are repair, installation, and maintenance experts. In addition to working with furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners, we also offer water heaters and electrical services. We’ve been in business for over two decades, so we have the experience to handle all your home care needs. Call Temp Air System Inc. today to schedule your appointment in La Puente or the surrounding area.