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Air Conditioning Efficiency 101: When to Turn Your A/C Off and When to Leave It On

Woman turning on her AC in a home

When it comes to air conditioning efficiency, the general rule is to turn it off when you’re not at home to save energy and money. However, there are some situations when it may be more efficient to leave it on.

But first, let’s quickly cover how your air conditioning system keeps you cool and comfortable during those sweltering summer months. An A/C system works by removing heat and moisture from the air inside a building and releasing it outside, while cooling and dehumidifying the indoor air. It does this using three main parts: a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator. The compressor compresses a refrigerant gas, which is then cooled and expanded, allowing it to absorb heat and moisture from indoor air. The cool, dehumidified air is then circulated back into the room, while the heat and moisture are released outside through the condenser.

As you can see, a lot goes into cooling your home and maintaining your ideal comfort level. This is why we always stress routine A/C maintenance. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning or replacing the air filters, checking the refrigerant levels, and cleaning the coils, can help your AC run more efficiently and prevent breakdowns.

When to Consider Turning It Off

The primary factor to consider is energy efficiency. When you’re not at home, there’s no need to keep your air conditioning system running at full blast, as it’s only wasting energy and driving up your utility bills. So, if you’re going to be away from home for an extended period, such as a vacation or a long weekend, it’s best to turn off your air conditioning system entirely. This will not only save energy and money but also prevent any potential issues that may arise while you’re away. Additionally, turning off your air conditioning system can also help extend its lifespan by reducing wear and tear on its components.

When to Consider Keeping It On

If you’re only going to be away for a few hours, it may be more efficient to leave your air conditioning system on but raise the temperature setting by a few degrees. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% on your annual cooling and heating bills by adjusting the settings by 7-10° for 8 hours a day from your normal settings. This will allow the system to maintain a comfortable temperature while using less energy. It’s worth noting that the exact temperature setting will depend on your personal preferences and the weather conditions outside.

Another situation where you may want to leave your air conditioning system on is if you have pets at home. In this case, it’s important to keep your home at a comfortable temperature to ensure the well-being of your pets. However, you can still adjust the temperature setting to a higher temperature to save energy while keeping your pets comfortable.

Finally, you may also want to consider the needs of any plants in your home. If you have delicate plants that require a certain temperature and humidity level to thrive, you may want to leave your air conditioning system on but adjust the temperature setting accordingly.

How a Programmable Thermostat Helps with A/C Efficiency

Programmable AC in a house

Using a programmable or smart thermostat to adjust your air conditioner temperature offers several benefits, including:

Energy savings: A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature schedule based on your lifestyle and preferences. For example, you can set the temperature a few degrees higher when you’re away from home or sleeping, reducing energy consumption and lowering your energy bills.

Increased comfort: With a programmable thermostat, you can have your home at the desired temperature when you wake up, return home, or have your home at a comfortable temperature when you go to bed.

Convenience: A programmable thermostat eliminates the need to manually adjust the temperature throughout the day, allowing you to set it and forget it.

Reduced wear and tear on your A/C: Consistently adjusting the temperature can cause extra wear and tear on your air conditioning system. A programmable thermostat can help reduce the amount of work your A/C has to do and extend its lifespan.

Call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing for All Your Cooling Needs

Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a wide range of air conditioning services to clients in San Antonio and Austin.

Air Conditioning Installation: We provide professional installation services for various types of air conditioning systems. Our team of experienced technicians can help you choose the right type and size of AC system that fits your needs and budget.

Air Conditioning Repair: Our technicians are trained to diagnose and fix AC problems quickly and efficiently to ensure your comfort and safety.

Air Conditioning Maintenance: Regular maintenance can help keep AC systems running efficiently and prevent breakdowns. We offer preventative maintenance services, including cleaning or replacing air filters, checking refrigerant levels, cleaning coils, and inspecting electrical connections to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency.

Call today for comprehensive air conditioning services in San Antonio and Austin, ensuring that your AC system is installed, maintained, and repaired correctly for optimal performance, energy efficiency, and longevity.

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