Is It Cheaper to Leave Air Conditioner on All Day?

No matter where you live in Florida, everyone wants to save money on utilities. And while there are some proven ways to do this, including conducting an energy audit and replacing air filters regularly, other options may seem to make less sense.

For example, one fairly popular idea is that it is cheaper to leave your air conditioner (AC) on all day instead of turning it off when you leave your home in the morning. The logic is that by keeping the house cool during the day, the AC won’t need to work as hard to cool the house down during the evening.

This is a complicated question, and the answer can depend on the size of your house, the type of system you have, and your work schedule, among other factors. We’re sharing the following guide to help you get a better understanding of what may be right for you.

Should I Leave My Air Conditioner On When I Leave for the Day?

The short answer is no. If you leave your AC running all day, you’re not using energy efficiently. Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air from your home, extracting the humidity, cooling the air down, and blowing it back into your home through air vents. Once your home reaches the temperature you set on the thermostat, the AC cycles off.

Since your home will inevitably change temperature again, your AC will start a new cycle and do it all over again, all day long. If no one is home, your air conditioner will be using a lot of energy to cool an empty house.

While the AC system will need to run a little longer in the evening when you return home, the extra energy it uses likely will not exceed the cost of electricity you would have used during the day. This is especially true because each time the unit cycles on it requires additional power, compared to running steadily for however long it takes to cool the house down. In fact, running it steadily at night may actually reduce wear and tear related to additional cycles, and reduce the likelihood of problems, such as short cycling, developing.

How can I save energy when my home is empty?

With that being said, no one wants to come home to sauna-like conditions, and homes in Florida are particularly vulnerable at any time of year. Fortunately, there are a few practical steps anyone can take to keep both costs down and everyone comfortable at night:

1. Adjust the thermostat when no one is home. Adjusting the temperature in your home between seven to 10 degrees on a daily basis results in savings of up to 10% of your power bill. You can also increase savings by adjusting it when everyone’s sleeping. You can start by changing it gradually by a degree or two to ensure that everyone in your home is comfortable.

2. Get a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to worry about remembering to adjust the temperature every time you leave home and return after work. You can set it for a higher temperature during the day, and then even set it to have the house already cooling down shortly before you get home.

3. Install a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat offers even more benefits compared to programmable thermostats. First, smart thermostats have motion sensors, so even if your home schedule changes unexpectedly, the environment inside your house will always remain comfortable when people are home. In addition, you can control it remotely from your smartphone or tablet. Some models even include a virtual assistant that can remind you to change the air filters or get HVAC maintenance work done.

By taking advantage of new technology and using energy efficient practices, you and your family can achieve the right balance between saving money and beating the heat and humidity in Florida.

Contact Complete Air Mechanical for AC Service in Central Florida

At Complete Air Mechanical, we have experienced HVAC professionals who can ensure energy efficiency for your home or business. We provide service in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties, and we offer financing options.

Call us at (407) 915-0144 and let us help you keep energy costs down.