The great debate about the best way to operate your central air or window air conditioner rages on: do you turn it off when you’re not home, turn it down, or leave it alone?
The answer, of course, depends on several different factors. For example:
- How long will you be away?
- What are the temperatures like outside?
- Are you leaving pets in the home?
- What temperature is your thermostat set at?
Some experts say it’s always best to turn the system off if you’re going to be away for more than a few hours to conserve its lifespan. Others say you should always leave it running at the same temperature for best use.
So, what’s the real answer? It depends.
Where Do You Live?
If you live in a condo or apartment, your hot space could affect your neighbors. Therefore, it might be best to leave the unit on, even if you turn it up a bit while you’re away. If you live in a detached home and don’t mind coming home to an oven on a hot day, go ahead and shut it down. Just remember that the system will have to work that much harder to get back to temperature.
Can You Program the Thermostat?
Today, most people have programmable thermostats and smart home systems that give them total control over their heating and cooling. If you do, this is a great way to compromise. Program the thermostat to come on a couple of hours before you arrive home from a long trip, for example, or set it to shut down once you have left for the day.
You might even want to program the thermostat to be five or ten degrees cooler while you’re at work, setting the hours based on when you arrive home and when you leave. This offers more flexibility than just choosing between “off” and “on.”
What’s Comfortable for You?
Ultimately, it might come down to a matter of trial and error. If you don’t like coming home to a sweltering space and waiting for it to cool down, you might save more by shutting the system down completely. As mentioned above, You could set it to kick on right before you get home and save the heat wave.
If you want your house to maintain temperature and don’t care about energy bills or the extra work on the system, leave your thermostat alone. Just make sure that you’re not running your system below 65 degrees consistently because that can cause issues with condensation and overwork.
Your AC system is designed to keep you comfortable. Whether you leave it off or on will ultimately be up to you. If you want to make sure that your system is performing optimally to minimize expenses, reach out to Elite Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We can come out and perform a full inspection and routine maintenance so that your home can be comfortable no matter how you run your system.
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