Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or have lived in the same house for decades, you’ve likely faced the same dilemma. Is it more cost-effective to keep your air conditioner on all day or turn it off periodically? Keep reading to discover which practice is more energy-efficient and could save you money each month on your electric bill.
How Do Air Conditioners Work?
Air conditioners keep our homes and workplaces cool during warmer months by absorbing heat from enclosed spaces, cooling it, then distributing the cool air throughout the enclosed space. For being such a basic system, air conditioners serve a crucial purpose in indoor safety and comfort.
This three-step guide will help you understand the cooling process in more detail:
- Air vents transfer warm air from rooms throughout your home to the AC.
- The evaporator coil absorbs the heat and cools it with refrigerant, which is stored inside the coil.
- A fan blows the cool air into air ducts, and the air ducts distribute it throughout your home.
What’s Cheaper: Leaving My Air Conditioner on All Day or Turning It off When I’m Away?
Leaving your air conditioner on all day and periodically bumping up the thermostat setting is more cost-effective than turning the system off when you’re away. Here’s why:
- Your AC never exceeds the thermostat setting. This means the system won’t run unnecessary—and costly—cooling cycles to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature while you’re not at home.
- By leaving the system on and bumping up the temperature while you’re away, the thermostat will reach the desired temperature faster than if the system was turned off completely. This process requires less energy to cool your home, thus saving you money on your monthly electric bill.
When you turn off the system while you’re away, it has to work harder to reach the desired temperature once you return home. The AC sometimes requires more energy to complete the cooling process, thus increasing your monthly electric bill.
- Your AC system can only remove humidity from the air when it’s turned on. If you turn off the system when you’re away, humidity levels will increase and the system must work harder to remove it from the air. This also increases your monthly electric bill.
Will Turning My Air Conditioner on and off Periodically Waste Energy?
The short answer is, yes. Turning your AC on and off periodically will waste energy, as opposed to leaving it on all day and bumping up the temperature when you’re not at home. That’s because more energy is required to reach a thermostat setting after the system has been turned off and back on. But when you leave the AC on all day, the system uses less energy to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. If you want to save money, go with the more energy-efficient method.
Enjoy Year-Round Comfort With Eanes Heating & Air Conditioning
A well-maintained air conditioner provides various benefits to homeowners:
- Improved indoor air quality by removing airborne contaminants
- Reduced energy usage and, therefore, reduced monthly electric bill
- Year-round safety and comfort
Scheduling routine HVAC maintenance with the experts at Eanes Heating & Air Conditioning will keep your unit in tip-top shape while helping you avoid costly repairs and installations. For reliable and efficient home cooling in Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, schedule an AC maintenance appointment with an Eanes technician today.