Is It Cheaper to Leave the AC on All Day?

With expected temperatures in the low 90s over the next couple of weeks, plus humidity rising to about 80% and higher in the Durham area, you might be wondering how to maximize the efficiency of your home air conditioning system. With that in mind, you may have heard that it’s less expensive to run your AC all day, even if you’re not home. But is that really true?

The short answer is yes, it is cheaper to leave your air conditioner on all day. But this does not mean that you should leave it on full blast, keeping your home so cold that you need a sweater or jacket to be comfortable. That would have the opposite effect, wasting energy and putting an unnecessary strain on your AC system that could lead to costly repairs.

There’s a right way to run your AC all day during the summer, and we’ll go over that here in this blog. As Durham air conditioning professionals, we at JD Service Now can offer some helpful tips that can make it easier for you to decide what’s best for your comfort—and your budget.

Ready to find out more? Talk to our Durham HVAC team today at (919) 626-3626!

The Right Way to Leave Your AC on All Day in the Summer

When it comes to running your AC during the summer, think about avoiding an up and down rollercoaster with the thermostat. Instead of turning it off when you leave the house and then cranking the temperature all the way down when you get home, try to even it out. Aim for an inside temperature that’s comfortable, but not freezing. When you leave, set the AC higher by several degrees. Then turn it back down when you get home. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to automatically adjust at different times of the day and night, based on your unique schedule.

For example, let’s say that you like to keep your thermostat set at about 73 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home. If you step out for the day, you could set it to 78. At that temperature, the system will not run all day long. It will run in cycles, working to maintain that temperature while you’re away. Then, when you get home, you can set it back to 73.

Why Shouldn’t I Turn off My AC When I Leave?

Leaving your AC on is usually preferable to turning it off completely, which can quickly introduce a lot of heat and humidity into your home. Even within a few hours, the inside temperature can increase dramatically. Your AC will have to work harder to lower the temperature back to a comfortable level, which can put undue strain on the system.

When you keep your air conditioner running in this way, you will also come back to a house that is cooler and less humid than the air outside—without the excess cost (and wear and tear) that comes with keeping the temperature extremely low.

How Does This Save Me Money?

According to the Department of Energy, you can save about 10% a year on energy costs just by setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher or cooler than normal for 8 hours a day. Whether you want to take advantage of this opportunity while you’re sleeping or while you’re away from home, this can lower your energy bill.

Other ways to save money on your AC during the summer:

  • Open the windows as temperatures cool down in the evening.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to avoid using your AC when you’re not home.

Read more helpful tips on increasing the efficiency of your AC.

When You Run Your AC All Day, Temperature Is Everything

Yes, we have said that it is usually cheaper to keep your air conditioner on all day, but this is only true if you have it set to the right temperature. This method works when you keep it at a higher temperature (albeit lower than however hot it is outside). If you set your thermostat to 60 or 65 degrees, the system is likely to run all day and night as it struggles to maintain such a low temperature when the heat outside is 20 or more degrees higher. This causes unnecessary wear and tear—and will jack up your electric bill.

Get Helpful Insight from Our Durham AC Technicians

If you want to find out more about your air conditioner and whether you should run it all day, our Durham AC technicians at JD Service Now are standing by to help! We handle air conditioner repairs, installations, upgrades, and maintenance to keep you comfortable all summer long. When we perform maintenance or repairs, we can answer any questions you have about running your air conditioner all day, and what setting may be best for energy efficiency and your comfort.

For trusted AC service, installations, and repairs in the Durham area, contact JD Service Now!

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