Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Is It Smart to Turn Off AC When You Leave Home for a While?

If you turn off AC while you’re away from home all day, will it save money? After all, setting the thermostat at the normal cool temperature isn’t really a benefit when nobody’s around to enjoy it. And, because the air conditioner is turned off, you’re presumably saving electricity too.  Therefore, it seems like a no-brainer to simply turn off AC when you leave for the day.

However, certain things that at first sound logical may turn out to be not so practical. Actually, turning off the air conditioner when nobody’s home can be a bad idea that may, in fact, cost you more. Here are some reasons why you should not turn off AC:

  • Cooling down a hot house that’s been without air conditioning all day can ultimately result in more electricity use than keeping the AC running when you’re gone. While you’re away, the indoor temperature soars. When you return and turn on the air conditioner, the unit runs extended compressor cycles to cool the very overheated house. Electricity consumption soars. Conversely, leaving the AC on while you’re gone, with the thermostat setting about 8 to 10 degrees above the normal occupied temperature, prevents higher electricity use when you return.
  • As part of the cooling process, a central air conditioner also controls indoor humidity.  A closed-up indoor environment without air conditioning becomes excessively humid, spawning mildew and mold growth. High indoor humidity also draws insect infestation. Running the AC while you’re away keeps humidity low and the house healthier.
  • In the event you’re going to be out of the house less than four hours, the Department of Energy reports that there’s little economic benefit in turning off the AC for even that relatively brief period. Energy savings from shutting down the unit for that short time span will be offset by the electricity required to restore a normal temperature when you return.

Ask the cooling pros at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company for more good reasons to not turn off AC when you’re away.