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Is It Better to Run the AC All Day Even When I’m Not Home?

You’ve probably heard this advice before regarding the best way to run an air conditioning system: you should set your air conditioner to stay on all day (at a high temperature, such as the upper 70s) while you’re away from home, rather than leave it off and turn it on only when you get back home. The logic behind this piece of advice is that this 1) makes it easier to quickly cool down the house when you return, and 2) uses less energy, because an air conditioner drains more power at start-up than when running regularly.

But is this actually true?

No, it’s not. We’ll explain below.

Why you shouldn’t keep the air conditioner running all day

Like many bits of misguided advice, there’s a kernel of truth here. An air conditioner does place the most demand on the electrical system when it enters the start-up cycle. This is why a short-cycling AC is such a money-waster: it’s caught in the start-up cycle and keeps turning on and off. However, the amount of energy it takes to turn on the air conditioner when you get home compared to running it all day—even at a high temperature—is small. You’ll save more money by simply keeping the air conditioner turned off when you aren’t home.

Keeping an air conditioner running all day will also cause the system to wear down faster, and this will definitely cost you money in the long run.

To prevent the house from becoming too hot in your absence, and to take some of the strain off the AC, keep all the windows shuttered or the blinds pulled down, and keep all non-essential appliances turned off. It’s also smart to invest in a programmable thermostat, which can turn on the AC a half hour before you get home. That way you can always come back to a cool house.

Contact Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration for AC service in Bossier City, LA.

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