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Is It More Energy Efficient to Leave the AC On?

Many homeowners believe it’s best to leave the air conditioner turned on when they are not at home.

The idea is that your air conditioner will not have to work too hard to return your home’s temperature to comfortable levels if it was already working in your absence.

However, like other HVAC-related beliefs many homeowners hold, it’s not always that straightforward. So, is it more energy efficient to leave the AC on when you’re away, or should you turn it off? As Humble’s top-rated HVAC company, we have educated many homeowners on this topic, and we’ll share the answers in this article.

Benefits of Leaving the AC on While You're Away

Here are the benefits of leaving the AC on while you’re away:

Reduce the Risk of Mold Growth and Bugs Infestation

Your air conditioner doubles as a cooling system and a dehumidifier.

If you turn it off, your home’s indoor humidity levels will rise, creating a perfect environment for mold and bugs to thrive.

However, if you leave the air conditioner on, it can keep the humidity levels at the optimum range.

Increased Comfort

When you turn off your air conditioner completely, you’ll return to a humid and stuffy house and will likely remain uncomfortable for the first few hours after you return from a hard day’s work, which is far from ideal.

Leaving your air conditioner working when you’re away means you’ll come home to a more comfortable space. You won’t have to tolerate the hot Texas weather for too long.

Increased Savings

When people ask, “Is it more energy efficient to leave the AC on?” they are typically looking at it from the perspective of saving money on their energy bill. Leaving your AC on can indeed save you money compared to turning it off.

When you return to a hot home, your air conditioner must work non-stop for a few hours to reach your desired temperature. If the system was working while you were away, it would only need to cycle on and off intermittently to keep you cool.

In the former scenario, your air conditioner will increase your electricity bill, especially if your energy provider charges higher rates for peak periods.

Benefits of Turning the AC Off While You're Away

While leaving your AC on while you’re away is reasonable, it’s not always a good idea. It’s hard to justify leaving your AC on when you’re gone for three days or more.  

Also, you won’t save much by leaving the system on throughout the day if you pay a flat rate for peak and off-peak periods. In that scenario, it’s more beneficial to turn off the system.

So, it could be better to turn off the system when you’re away. Here are other benefits of turning the AC off:

No Risk of Electrical Accidents

Power surges can happen when you don’t expect and trigger a fire. If the air conditioner is not working, such accidents are highly unlikely.

Prolonged System Lifespan

An air conditioner comprises many mechanical moving parts. The longer these parts are in use, the faster they reach their lifespan. So, turning off the air conditioner for 40 hours a week and when you’re away on vacation can reduce wear and tear and add a few more years to the system’s lifespan.

Using Smart Technology to Improve AC Energy Efficiency

One of the best ways to strike a perfect balance in the chase for energy-efficient cooling is to embrace technology.

A smart thermostat gives you better control over your air conditioner, allowing you to turn off the air conditioner from your device at work and turn it back on before you return home.

If you have to leave the air conditioner working all day, you can set the thermostat to work at a temperature that can keep the space just cool enough without using too much energy.

The thermostat can increase or reduce the temperature as necessary or by following your preferences.

Optimizing AC Energy Efficiency

Other ways to optimize your air conditioner’s energy efficiency include the following:

  • Schedule regular maintenance
  • Seal ductwork leaks
  • Change or clean the air filters
  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit

Turn to Crew Heating & Cooling for Efficient, High-Performance Air Conditioning

Is it more energy efficient to leave the AC on when you’re away? Well, it depends on your situation. You can count on our team for custom advice and all your HVAC needs, including AC repair and replacements.

Call the Crew Heating & Cooling team in Humble, TX, today at (832) 402-1681 to schedule a consultation.