Does it Cost More to Turn Your AC On and Off?

Is it worth it to turn your AC on and off?

Being in the heating and cooling business in central Indiana, where the summers can be sweltering and the winters as cold as the South Pole, we often get lots of questions from our customers about the best way to manage their home comfort systems. 

One of the most common questions we get has to be “does turning your AC on and off use more energy than just leaving it running all day long?”

The question is a fair one. After all, one would think that the act of turning your AC on and off would require significantly more energy during the time it takes to get going. However, wouldn’t running your AC all day long suck through power like a kid drinking a chocolate milkshake too?

At the end of the day, it is an important question for homeowners to have the answer to. After all, energy wasted is money wasted, so maintaining smart usage habits with your both cooling and heating systems will help keep them running efficiently. This will help you save money on your utility bills as well as help extend its lifespan.

So, what is the best way to handle your air conditioner usage? While it is always a good idea to give your system a break when you can, you are usually better off leaving your air conditioner running all day even when you are at work or out running errands. Here’s why:

Why it is best to keep your AC running

While running your air conditioner throughout the entire day may seem like it would consistently use more energy, understanding how your air conditioner works will help you understand more clearly why this may not be the case. 

Your air conditioner works the hardest and uses the most amount of energy when it is actively cooling air. So, if you come home from work, having turned your AC off when you left, and you want to cool your home down from 78 to 70 degrees, it is going to take quite a while and quite a bit of energy to condition your home’s air back to the set temperature and to remove the humidity from the air. 

Counter that with leaving your AC running during the day while you are gone. While it will have to work throughout the day to maintain the set temperature, these will be smaller, less energy-consuming increments to keep the temperature consistent. Running throughout the day also keeps the humidity more stable, leaving less chance for mold or mildew damage to occur as a result of rampant and fluctuating humidity.

Air conditioner setting tips

Now, just because running your air conditioner the majority of the day may be the most energy-efficient way doesn’t mean you should just be blowing it full blast. There are smart ways to approach this method that will help maximize your energy efficiency and, more importantly, saving you the most money.

One thing you’ll want to make sure you do is to have your thermostat set on AUTO as opposed to ON. Yes, don’t worry, just because your thermostat is not set to ON it is still running! This is simply referring to what your system’s fan will be doing. 

When set to ON, your fan will continue to blow air and expend energy even when the set temperature is achieved. When set to auto, your system will only blow the fan when it detects more air needs the house needs to be cooled off (or heated up when the furnace is on).

You should also consider planning your thermostat settings to help take some of the load off of your system. During times throughout the day when you and your family are least active, such as when you are at work, out running errands, or sleeping, turn your thermostat up. This will help relieve your cooling system from working hard when you aren’t there to take advantage. 

Programmable thermostats are the best solution

Of course, then you have the issue of constantly having to tinker with your air conditioner whenever you leave the house, which isn’t ideal. That is why we truly believe that one of the smartest and most effective investments you can make to help you save money on your heating and cooling expenses is installing a programmable thermostat in your home.

Programmable thermostats give you greater control over your heating and cooling systems than a regular thermostat. With these hi-tech comfort tools, you can create a custom schedule for your air conditioning. With a little programming, it will know when to turn down or turn up depending on when you are home or when you are away in order to control air conditioning usage and waste. This makes them one of the best tools for managing your energy bills each month.

Programmable thermostats are a relatively low home-comfort investment and simple to install, making them a must-have for any home. However, with the current material shortage we are experiencing in 2021, essential microchips used in the manufacturing of these programmable thermostats are in short supply. If you are ready to upgrade your home with more energy-efficient equipment, you’ll need to do some planning and place your orders now!

Hoosier Indoor Air carries and installs Bryant programmable thermostats and is taking measures to get ahead of the current material shortages and deliver service and equipment to our Indiana customers as soon as possible. To learn more about our programmable thermostats or schedule services, schedule online or call 317-466-7437 today.

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