Summer is here, and your air conditioner has become one of the most important devices in the house. Keeping your house cool during these hot days is essentially something every homeowner wants to do.
However, the issue of energy bills sometimes kicks in. For instance, is it cheaper to leave AC on all day? Or do you need to switch it off when not in the house or when the indoors is cooled?
Well, this is a genuine concern, especially since air conditioners can be real energy guzzlers. However, the truth is you should leave that AC on. Don’t turn it off, thinking it will cost you less.
But why is it cheaper to leave the AC on all day long? This might be a bit confusing to some.
Let’s get to it and clear things up:
Why is it Cheaper to Leave AC on All Day?
Realistically, your AC is among the most expensive systems in your home to operate.
According to the Department of Energy in the US, ACs consume 6% of the energy generated in the country. This means they can really increase your energy bills at home. Still, many people ask themselves, “is it cheaper to leave your air conditioner on all day?
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to increase your energy savings while sustaining your comfort level. For starters, don’t turn off the AC during the day.
Usually, the AC is designed to only cool the hot indoor air. It’s also responsible for keeping the humidity levels in the house in check.
As such, when the AC is off for a while, you can be sure that the humidity levels will rise, especially in the more humid areas. Also, the temperatures will soar up, making the house quite uncomfortable to live in by the time you come back.
What’s the consequence of this?
When you turn the AC back on, you’ll need to crank it all the way down as you try to regain your home’s comfort. As a result, the system will overwork, consuming even more energy.
Also, continuously overworking the unit means that wear and tear effects can increase, resulting in more repairs. So, while you are trying to save a few dollars by turning off the AC, it will cost you even more.
And did we mention the possibility of mold build-up due to increased humidity? That’s right. And this might have grave health consequences for your family in the long run.
Therefore, turning off the AC will be more expensive in the long run.
Why is it More Energy Efficient to Leave AC On in Your Home?
As stated earlier, air conditioners maintain humidity levels and temperatures inside your home. When you are not at home, the best thing is to set your AC at a temperature of 78 degrees.
This is the temperature recommended by the Department of Energy. And by doing so, you’ll be striking a good balance between saving electricity and maintaining your home’s comfort.
With this setting, your AC will not be operational all the time – it operates in cycles. Each cycle releases air at 15-20 °F below the normal temperature. These cycles keep your house comfortable, and the thermostat will establish when more cycles are needed.
However, when you are at home, the Department of Energy recommends a 68 °F setting on your thermostat. That is a 10 °F difference that will ensure your indoors are more comfortable when you are indoors.
The good thing here is that at 78 °F, the house is not overly hot. Plus, humidity levels are also taken care of. As such, when you come home and turn down the settings to 68 °F, your unit will not have a hard time adjusting.
In this case, it won’t need to overwork to give you the necessary comfort. So, you’ll have avoided increased energy consumption and wear and tear effects.
How to Ensure Energy Efficiency When Leaving AC on All Day
Here are some tips you should consider if you’re wondering, “is it more efficient to keep AC on throughout the day?”:
1. Changing your Air Filters
Clean air filters are among the best ways to keep your central air operating effectively. It also keeps away pollutants from your AC’s components and air ducts. Blocked air filters clog airflow, which, in turn, makes your evaporator coil freeze.
When this happens, your home temperature goes beyond the thermostat setting because the AC cannot cool the air. This causes your electricity bills to escalate as the AC is always overworking.
Therefore, it is important to regularly change your air filters three times every year.
That being said, homeowners should always do a weekly inspection. Change it if you notice dust or a funny smell in the air filters. Filters are affordable, and the earlier you change them, the better before they cause bigger problems in the AC system.
Lastly, with clean air filters, your AC unit performs more efficiently. It will also have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance. It saves you money from energy bills.
2. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are essential for circulating air in your home. Fans don’t cool air but will move it, leaving spaces more comfortable. By using ceiling fans, your energy bills will drastically go down.
3. Correct Thermostat Placement
A thermostat is instrumental in ensuring that your HVAC unit maintains the ideal temperature in your home. It monitors the average temperature in your home and directs the HVAC on what to do. As such, incorrect placement of your thermostat can lead to erroneous temperature readings.
For instance, when placed on the outer walls, it will read higher temperatures during summer. Subsequently, it will direct your AC to cool the house when, in essence, the room doesn’t need cooling. This might lead to an increase in energy bills.
4. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Most AC professionals advise that you should use a programmable thermostat, especially when you are leaving AC on all day. A programmable thermostat protects your home from excessive moisture and humidity, bugs, and molds.
With a programmable thermostat, it’s easier to preset your temperature preference. This way, when you are out of the house, the thermostat maintains a slightly higher temperature but cools it down when you come back. All these help in maintaining comfort and saving money.