Should You Turn Off Air Conditioner When Not Home?

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Finding new ways to save money can be a struggle sometimes. Do you want to try turning off your air conditioner while you aren't home but don't know if it will make a difference? Well, we've done plenty of research and have the answers here for you. Let's check this out.

If you don't plan on being gone long, it's not worth it to turn off your air conditioner. Generally, you only want to turn off your AC if you plan on leaving home for more than a few days. Instead, we recommend turning up your air conditioner a few degrees to cut back on energy while you're out of the house.

As we begin, we will cover all things air conditioners and discuss how to set them while you're gone. Whether you're planning a vacation or want to save some money on your electric bill, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

An air conditioning unit inside the living room set at 22 degrees Fahrenheit, Should You Turn Off Air Conditioner When Not Home?

Is It Better To Keep The Air Conditioner On While I'm Not Home?

Yes, for the most part, you want to keep your AC on while you're out of the house. If you plan on being gone less than a few days, it's better to keep your air conditioner running than to turn it off completely.

That said, if your trip is longer than three days and the weather forecast calls for moderate temperatures, it's completely fine to turn off your AC system and open a few windows.

An air conditioning unit condenser photographed in the back of a house

What Should You Leave Your AC On When Not Home?

If you aren't home, try setting your air conditioner five to ten degrees higher than its current temperature. Doing this will save energy and keep the inside of your house protected from bugs, mold, and mildew.

Of course, if you live somewhere that isn't too humid or warm, you might be able to get away with turning off your air conditioner during the day, but in general, we don't recommend doing this.

Will Turning Off My Air Conditioner Save Money?

Although turning off the air while you're not home seems like a good money-saving idea, it can be the opposite. Most times, shutting your air conditioner off during the day can cause the climate inside your house to become stuffy, which will only make your system work harder once it's back on.

As mentioned, unless you're gone for more than three to four days, it's best to turn up your air rather than power it off.

Which Mode In AC Consumes Less Electricity?

To save electricity, you want to set your air conditioner to its "FAN" mode. Doing this will keep your AC fan running without using its compressor, which tends to require the most energy.

Of course, the air may not be as cold as usual on fan mode, but if the weather is good, you shouldn't notice a huge difference. Setting your air conditioner to its fan mode is also great for the wintertime, so you might want to try it.

Is It Better To Leave The AC On Auto Or On?

A man adjusting the thermostat mounted to a yellow painted wall

In most cases, you want to keep your air conditioner on its "AUTO" setting. Doing this will save energy and is a good way to give your AC a break between cooling cycles.

Unlike keeping your air conditioner on 24/7, setting it to auto will only require it to power on when its thermometer reads higher than a specific temperature. This can come in handy during colder weather and is a great way to save electricity while you aren't home.

Is Auto Mode Good For AC?

Yes, keeping your air conditioner on its auto setting is good for it. Especially during the summer, setting your AC to auto will help allow its cooling coils to drain throughout the day.

This setting is also great for dehumidifying a space, which is always good for those in the tropics. Even if you live somewhere dry, having your air conditioner set to auto can help it work more efficiently and experience fewer issues.

Is It Bad To Turn The Air Conditioner Off In The Summer?

Depending on where you live, you might be able to turn off your AC in the summer. Typically, places with mild summer weather won't experience high humidity or tons of pests, which allows for open windows and less air conditioning.

On the other hand, if you are somewhere with super hot summers or high humidity, you don't want to turn off your AC. Doing this can create mold and mildew issues in your house and even cause a bug infestation.

Does Turning Off The AC At Night Save Money?

An electric fan placed near the window

If the temperature outside is lower than your AC's set climate, turning it off might help save you some money. In general, you want to turn off your AC if the weather is 10-20 degrees cooler than inside your home, and try opening up a few windows.

Doing this during the night will save you energy and give your system a break, so it's a win-win.

Do You Waste More Electricity By Turning The AC On And Off?

It is possible to waste more electricity by turning your air on and off. Depending on the weather outside, shutting off your AC could be doing more harm than good.

Especially in the summertime, you want to keep your air conditioner on, raising or lowering its temperature accordingly. As mentioned, switching your system to its "AUTO" setting can help save money and energy throughout the year, so we recommend that over constantly powering it on and off.

How Many Hours A Day Should My Air Conditioner Run?

The air conditioner in a home should constantly run throughout the day. Usually, your AC will cycle for 10-15 minutes a few times per hour and might run shorter or longer depending on the weather outside.

That said, even if you set the thermostat higher while you're away, expect to have your air conditioner turn on periodically.

How Long Does It Take For The AC To Cool Down My House?

An air conditioning system should only take a few hours to cool down your house. Of course, this depends on how big a space is, but a moderate, four-bedroom home will cool down by about ten degrees in four hours.

Think of this like an hour per bedroom your home has, although again, this isn't always 100% accurate. The temperature outside can also affect how quickly your AC works, so if it's summer, expect a slightly longer wait time.

What Can I Use To Cool My House Instead Of AC?

An electric fan turned on inside room

If you don't want to use the AC while you're at home or away, there are some alternatives. Most commonly, turning on your ceiling fans and getting a few rotating floor units will work the best.

You can also try opening your windows if the weather outside is moderate, although this can attract bugs. Even switching your air conditioner to its "FAN" mode will help keep your house comfortable and won't use nearly as much energy as a regular setting.

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To Wrap Things Up

Whether you regularly turn off the AC while you aren't home or want to try it, it's essential to keep your home cool. It's generally better to keep your air conditioner on and turn up its temperature while you're away rather than shutting it off.

With that said, if the weather outside is nice and you plan on being away more than three to four days, you can certainly turn off the air and open a few windows. It's also a good idea to switch your air conditioner to its fan or auto setting while you're away to save energy.

Regardless, remember to keep your AC on if it's hot/humid outside, and don't be afraid to grab a fan and open your windows if the outside temperatures are moderate.

Before you go, be sure to check out these helpful related HVAC posts below!

Do Central Air Conditioners Have Filters? [And How To Maintain Them]

How Long Does A Central Air Conditioner Last In Florida?

4 Best Air Conditioner Covers For Winter

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