Your window air conditioner can work 24 hours a day, but it's not always the most efficient or cost-effective option.
An air conditioner might seem like your only respite in the scorching heat and humidity, but running it non-stop may not be your best choice.
In this article, we'll explore the factors affecting 24/7 window AC use, including energy consumption, costs, and the potential for wear on your unit.
We'll also share some valuable tips on how to get the most out of your window air conditioner while keeping costs low and maintaining a comfortable temperature.
So, Can You Leave A Window Air Conditioner On 24/7?
Yes. It's safe to leave your window air conditioner on 24/7, but it's important to consider power consumption and efficiency.
Running your air conditioner continuously can result in high energy bills due to increased power usage.
Even modern window air conditioners designed for efficiency may consume more energy when operated non-stop.
What Happens If My Window AC Unit Runs Too Long?
Technically, you can run an air conditioner as long as you want. But, an air conditioner left on all the time does pose a few problems.
Most people set their AC to a specific temperature, and the unit stops actively cooling once it's reached the set temperature, even if it stays on.
Continuously running an AC can waste energy, as the compressor, which uses up to 95% of the unit's power, runs more frequently.
A well-sized compressor might only run 70% of the time in moderate temperatures, but this can increase to 90-100% during heatwaves.
The constant operation can also cause excessive wear and tear, leading to component damage and system replacement.
Why You Should Never Let Your Window AC Run 24/7 Unattended
While it may be tempting to keep it on continuously, especially during sweltering summer days, there are a number of downsides to consider.
Here are some reasons you should never let a window air conditioner run unattended 24/7.
Increased Power Consumption
When your AC unit operates continuously, it requires more energy to maintain a specific temperature. This increased energy use results in higher electricity bills.
When the cooling coil, or evaporator, inside the unit, operates non-stop, it can reduce the pressure until it freezes over.
Frozen coils can lead to malfunctions in your AC and, even worse, cause liquid refrigerant to flood back into the compressor, potentially damaging it.
Continue reading: Window Air Conditioner Freezing Up – What Could Be Wrong?
Shortens Your Unit's Lifespan
Constant use of your AC can shorten its typical 8-10 year lifespan by wearing out key components like the evaporator coil, compressor, or the expansion valve.
Excessive wear may lead to premature replacement, making it important to manage usage.
Potential Danger When Unattended
Although your AC is made to run for many hours, it can still pose a potential danger when unattended.
There may be electrical surges or malfunctioning components that can cause overheating, increasing fire risk.
So, monitoring your AC, especially when running it for extended periods, is essential.
Not Effective for Indoor Dehumidification
Constantly running your AC can make it less effective at dehumidifying the air.
Cycling on and off is more effective at removing moisture from the air, helping maintain indoor comfort.
Running the unit unnecessarily releases hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), contributing to global warming.
If you don't need the AC on to keep the room at a liveable temperature, do Mother Earth a favor and give it a rest.
Is It Safe To Run A Window AC Unit All Night?
There's no reason you can't run a window AC unit all night as they are designed to work 24 hours a day and run for many hours.
However, be mindful of electricity costs and potential spikes that could damage the unit.
It's best to run it up to eight hours at a time and to never let a window air conditioner run unattended 24/7.
How Much Does It Cost to Run A Window AC?
The average cost to run a window air conditioner in the U.S. is between $100 and $240 a month.
However, this can depend on various factors, including the unit's power rating, the local electricity rate, and the number of hours the AC is in operation.
To calculate the cost, follow these steps:
- Find your AC's power rating (in watts or kilowatts). If it's in, convert to kilowatts by dividing by 1,000. (e.g., 1,200W = 1.2 kW)
- Check the electricity rate in your area, usually expressed in cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
- Calculate daily energy use: Multiply power rating (kW) by hours run (e.g., 1.2 kW × 8 hours = 9.6 kWh).
- Get daily cost: Multiply daily energy use by a rate. If the rate is 12 cents/kWh and you consume 9.6 kWh, the daily cost would be $1.15.
- To find the monthly cost, multiply the daily expense by the days in a month.
Is It Cheaper To Leave Your Window AC On All Day?
Leaving your window AC on is more efficient than turning it off entirely, but adjusting the thermostat is essential to avoid overworking the system.
When you're not home, keep your house warmer. Once back, set the thermostat to a higher yet comfortable level for cooling and humidity control.
For example, if you prefer 72 degrees Fahrenheit at home, set it to 78 degrees when you're away.
The AC will cycle rather than run constantly, reducing strain and extending its lifespan. Once you're back, you can reset it to your preferred temperature.
Following this method can save about 10% annually on energy costs, as per the Department of Energy.
How Do I Save Money While Keeping My Window AC On All Day?
To minimize power usage and lower your electricity bills, consider the following tips:
- Use a thermostat to regulate the temperature and avoid overcooling.
- Insulate your windows and doors to prevent cool air from escaping and hot air from entering.
- Clean the filters regularly to maintain efficient airflow.
- Upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, such as a dual inverter AC.
Want your own cost-saving dual inverter window AC? Follow the link below:
How Do I Use My Thermostat For Efficient Cooling When Running My Window AC 24/7?
A thermostat plays a vital role in regulating the temperature of your living space and can help reduce the need for continuous AC operation.
Here are tips for effective thermostat use when running your window ac for 24/7:
- Set your thermostat between 72-78°F (22-26°C) for comfort, and avoid too low settings to prevent high power consumption.
- Consider a programmable thermostat to set higher temperatures when away and lower ones when home.
- Clean your thermostat regularly to ensure accurate temperature readings.
You might also like: Will Rain Damage A Window Air Conditioner?
While it's possible to run a window air conditioner 24/7, it's not always efficient or cost-effective.
To optimize your AC's performance and lifespan, it's best to adjust the thermostat when away and to avoid setting it too low.
By following these tips, you can enjoy a cool, comfortable home without straining your AC or incurring high energy costs.
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