Should You Leave Your A/C Running While You're Not Home?

Should You Leave Your AC Running When You're Not Home
Should You Leave Your A/C Running While You're Not Home?

When the days get warmer, the debate about leaving the air conditioning on all day also starts to heat up. We all want to have the most comfortable environment in our homes. At the same time, you need to get the best energy efficiency from your system to keep our cooling costs down.

The Great Air Conditioning Debate

Air conditioners work by drawing hot air and energy from your home and replacing it with cooler air. The warmer the home is when you turn the system on, the longer it will have to work to cool the home down. Once your air conditioning reaches the ideal temperature, it will work as needed to maintain it. If your home gets a lot of sunlight, has poor insulation, or you live in a hot climate, your air conditioning will have to work harder, requiring more home energy.

So, should you leave your air conditioner running while you're not home? The truth is, the right answer will vary for each homeowner.

Pros of Leaving Your Air Conditioning Off When You're Not Home

If you plan on leaving for an extended period, we recommend turning your A/C off or raising your home's ambient temperature to reduce stress on your system while you're away. If you're leaving for just the day, keeping your air conditioning system off can offer:

  • Longer unit life. Turning off your A/C unit can help prolong its lifespan. If your family can bear with the heat, running your air conditioner makes a lot of sense on only the hottest days!
  • A longer filter life. When you run your system for fewer operating hours, you put less air through your filter and extend its useful lifespan.
  • Limited or no energy use. Turning your system off means you won't use any electricity, which can lead to savings on your home energy costs. While turning your temperature settings up may mean your system runs less frequently.

Pros of Leaving Your Air Conditioning On While You're Not Home

In some cases, the pros of leaving your air conditioning on can also be considered the cons of leaving your system off. In cooler climates, leaving a system off can have advantages, but most often, letting your air conditioning run can increase your comfort, extend your system's life and boost your energy efficiency. The pros of leaving your air conditioning on include:

  • Better air distribution. You can get even air distribution to eliminate the hot and cold spots often found in closets, bedrooms above garages and west-facing rooms.
  • Cleaner air. By running your air conditioner, your home's air will pass through its filtration systems. This means cleaner air for you when you arrive home. As a bonus, some home systems have ultraviolet (UV) lights that kill germs and viruses or air ionizers that trap and eliminate harmful particles for a healthier environment.
  • Dryer air. Running your home's air conditioner means dryer air. On hot and humid days, the A/C does just what it says, it "conditions" the air to be pleasant by removing heat and moisture.
  • Less stress on your system. Running your air conditioning system all day puts less strain on your A/C with fewer starts and stops, and less work to cool the home down.
  • A cooler environment. On hot days, especially if the inside temp gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it can take a long time to bring your home down to a comfortable temperature.

Make Sure You're Getting the Best Home Energy Savings

Modern air conditioning systems offer the best energy efficiency, and regular maintenance and care can keep them working at their best to prevent a breakdown. To schedule a service or see how you can save on home energy costs with a new air conditioning system, call 1-800-839-1849 or contact Shipley Energy Home Services today.