Beating the heat in the Florida summertime is hard work, but so is keeping your energy bill low while staying cool. There are many opinions about when and how often to run your AC, but what’s the best strategy to stay frugal without compromising your comfort? And is it ever okay to turn your AC off completely? Learn more below.
Should I Turn Off My AC When the House is Empty?
Heating and air conditioning make up around 30% of your home’s overall energy consumption. Therefore, using your AC effectively can create lots of savings on your energy bill — especially in the hottest months of the year. But is it actually beneficial to turn your AC unit completely off when your house is empty?
In general, the answer is no. Having your AC unit completely off for extended periods of time on a warm day can cause indoor temperature and humidity levels to soar. While this creates an unpleasant return home (who likes to open the door to warm, damp air?), it can also ruin any stored food and put your pets in danger.
The exception to this rule is if the temperature is moderate enough to ensure an indoor temperature in the recommended zone (between 64 and 78°F) for the duration of your absence. Since your AC unit also regulates humidity levels, you’ll also want to make sure that leaving your unit off doesn’t create too much indoor humidity, which could create mold in your home and invite humidity-loving guests you may wish to avoid — bugs. It is still advised to use ceiling fans or opening windows to create airflow throughout your home if the unit is off.
Should I Turn off My Air Conditioner Before Going on Vacation?
Again, the answer here is probably not. All of the issues you face when leaving your AC off for a short period of time are exacerbated when you’re gone for longer periods, such as a vacation. Weather can be unpredictable, especially when forecasting many days ahead. What looked like a mild week could turn into a scorcher while you’re off sipping mimosas in your mountainside chateau. Nothing spoils a vacation like coming back to find bugs, mold, and rotten food laying claim to your home.
When Should I Ever Turn Off My AC?
While turning your AC off for extended periods of time is ill-advised, there is at least one instance where it might be necessary — during a thunderstorm. While running your AC unit in the rain is perfectly safe, lightning can completely destroy your AC unit’s electrical equipment. Turning off your system at the panel or even at the breaker-level is your safest option during a storm when lightning strikes are a threat.
A Better Way to Save Money and Stay Comfortable
Turn the Thermostat Up When You’re Away
Rather than turning your AC unit completely off, whether for a day or for weeks, a better strategy for running your air conditioner efficiently is to simply turn the temperature up when you’re away. A single degree difference could save you 2-3% on your energy consumption.
While many people think that keeping an AC running during the day keeps the unit from working too hard, the opposite is actually true. AC units work much harder to maintain constant temperatures throughout the day than they do when running full-blast to cool off your home. We recommend keeping your home at 78 degrees when you’re not home. This should maximize energy savings while keeping your home from getting too hot or humid throughout the day. Please keep in mind, however, any special considerations such as pets’ needs or any perishable items that may require a particular indoor climate.
Consider a Programmable Thermostat
While manually changing your thermostat to fit your home / away routine, an easier solution is to invest in a programmable thermostat. This allows you to easily set climate zones and schedules within your home to optimize your comfort levels as well as save big on your energy bills.
For other energy-saving tips, read our 5 Tips for Keeping Your Energy Bill Low During Quarantine
AC Service in Brevard County
Our experienced team of technicians can assist with any of your air-conditioning needs. Whether it’s AC & Heating, Water Heaters, or HVAC maintenance & repair, we are here to help. Call us if you need assistance ASAP, or to schedule routine HVAC maintenance.
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