As a homeowner, you’re always looking for ways to get the most out of your appliances and save money on expenses like electricity. In your various attempts to cut costs and improve your home’s energy efficiency, you’ve probably wondered if you can save money by turning your air conditioner off.
At Ambient Edge, we do everything we can to help homeowners save money on utility bills and HVAC costs. That’s why we’ve decided to answer the question, “should you ever turn your air conditioner off?” The short answer is that you should only turn your AC off when the outdoor air is cool enough to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Times When You Shouldn’t Turn Off Your Air Conditioner
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably turned your AC off for a number of different reasons in hopes that it will reduce your energy usage and lower your monthly utility bill. However, it’s only helpful to turn your AC off when it’s cool outside. It’s more beneficial to keep your air conditioner running during the following times:
When You Leave Your Home
Many homeowners think that turning off their AC when they’re at work or out running errands will reduce their energy consumption. While that may be true, the downsides of switching the AC off when you leave your home far outweigh the benefits.
If you turn your AC off before you leave your home, your home’s indoor air temperature will rise steadily throughout the day, making your house uncomfortable when you return. Once you return and turn your air conditioner back on, it will take more energy to cool your house back down than if you had left it on while you were out.
Letting your house heat up during the day has several other negative effects. The warm indoor climate will cause unrefrigerated food to spoil faster and force your fridge to work harder to keep cold foods at the right temperature. It can also be unsafe for your pets to spend that much time in an uncomfortably warm environment.
When You Go on Vacation
If you’re planning a weekend getaway or extended vacation, you might be tempted to turn your AC off while you’re away. Unfortunately, leaving the air conditioner off for two or more days at a time will only intensify the negative effects mentioned above.
Allowing your house to heat up for days on end could also cause damage to your possessions and your home itself. The heat could cause your floors to warp and even crack your furniture. It can also damage your refrigerator, appliances, electronics, and other expensive pieces of technology.
Did you know that leaving your AC off for an extended period of time can have a significant impact on your home’s indoor air quality? Since your cooling units circulate your home’s air through a filtration system, turning them off will allow harmful allergens and unwanted particles to run rampant through your home.
During Inclement Weather
Worrying about inclement weather affecting your home and HVAC system is understandable. However, modern heating and cooling units are designed to handle even the worst weather events. Their robust materials and sturdy builds fare well in rain, sleet, and snow.
That being said, there is one type of weather that you might want to turn your air conditioner off for. If there’s a storm with a considerable amount of lightning, it might be best to turn your AC off until it passes. If it strikes close enough to your home, lightning can cause a power surge that may damage your HVAC units.
However, there’s a way to protect your HVAC units and other gadgets from a dangerous power surge. If you want to keep your house cool in extreme storms, consider investing in a surge protector. Such a device will allow you to leave your AC on without worrying about lightning damaging your cooling unit.
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How to Save Money Without Ever Turning Your Air Conditioner Off
While turning your air conditioner off whenever you leave the house isn’t a good idea, there are still ways you can lower your energy consumption while at work or out on the town. The next time you leave your house for the day, try turning your thermostat up a few degrees.
By increasing your thermostat setting by about four degrees or lowering your standalone AC unit by four degrees, you can relieve some of the stress that’s put on your HVAC system and, consequently, lower your energy consumption and expenses.
While you can lessen the burden on your AC by manually adjusting the thermostat, investing in a programmable thermostat can make this process easier. A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically change the temperature setting when you leave for work and when you get home. There are also thermostats that can be controlled via a smartphone app.
Additional Ways to Improve Your HVAC System’s Energy Efficiency
At Ambient Edge, we aim to provide homeowners like you with the knowledge and services you need to keep your home comfortable, safe, and energy efficient. Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency:
- Change air filters: Changing or cleaning your cooling system’s air filter can dramatically reduce the amount of pollutants and allergens circulating through your home. Doing so will also put less strain on your AC and help you use less energy.
- Unblock vents: When your air vents are blocked by furniture and other objects, your cooling system will work harder to keep your home at the desired temperature. Removing obstructions from your vents will allow air to move freely through your home, reducing the amount of energy your AC uses.
- Seal your home: Unsealed windows and doors can allow cool air to escape from your home, which overworks your cooling system and leads to increased energy bills. Installing weatherstripping can prevent this from happening.
- Invest in preventative maintenance: Preventative maintenance can help your HVAC units run at peak performance. During a maintenance tuneup, a professional technician will adjust your system to improve its energy efficiency and overall performance.
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Contact Ambient Edge for Help With Your Air Conditioner
Learning more about when you should turn your air conditioner off can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency and avoid causing damage to your units and other possessions. However, there’s so much more you can do to mitigate your impact on the planet and lower your monthly energy costs.
The easiest and most effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to schedule a preventive maintenance appointment with the team at Ambient Edge. Our NATE-certified technicians will perform the adjustments your units need to run at peak efficiency all year long. Contact us today to schedule your maintenance visit.