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Saving more money by turning off your a/c when gone

It’s starting to get warm out there again, which means one thing…

Time to tune up and turn on those air conditioners while trying to save money on your cooling bills. Tough job!

If you’re anything like me, then you know how uncomfortable it can be when you’re hot in your own home. I hate being hot, so I love air conditioning. I consider it one of the greatest inventions around, just due to how much I hate being hot. Living in the south doesn’t help me much either. It’s hot for several months out of the year. I just love Spring and Fall the most.

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As someone who is also relatively frugal, I’m always torn between blasting the AC on high and enjoying those frosty temperatures or saving money. Typically, I push toward saving money. The good thing is you can save money and use your AC if you just plan a little and use some technology. Now a days, you can easily use technology to help you.

Check out the latest programmable thermostats to keep you cool and save you money! There are some awesome new ones out that can be programmed using your phone.

The majority of homeowners likely wonder whether it is better to turn off the AC while away or keeping it on all day. We certainly want to stretch every dollar, and we want the most efficient way of running things. But you also probably don’t want to die during the blistering heat of summer − which begs the question if turning the system off is worth the agony. But some people believe that leaving an air conditioner at all times − even while away − is the better path towards smaller energy bills. So…

Should I Turn Off My A/C to Save Money on My Cooling Bill?

I was lucky enough to have a HVAC technician help answer this question for me. Jason is a long-time HVAC tech who understands how air conditioners work and knows the answer to this constant question.

Jason is going to take it from here!

Being an HVAC technician for about 23 years, I’ve learned a good deal of how air conditioners work and how to maximize your indoor climate control efficiency. So, what about the belief that you shouldn’t turn off your air conditioner while away?

The myth: Leaving your air conditioner on all day will help save money in the long run by not having to kick start it each and every time you turn it back on.

The truth: Absolutely false.

How Air Conditioners Really Work

By keeping your air conditioner on at all times during the day, you’re not using an air conditioner efficiently, because leaving the air on all day (even when you’re not home) results in a higher use of energy. It would seem to be common sense that something that works harder is spending more energy, but this assumption is not an accurate reflection of how air conditioners work.  Fluctuating to accommodate for a constant temperature is far more taxing on an air conditioner than when it’s working at full capacity. Air conditioners work best when they are operating in full gear.

Leaving the air conditioner on throughout the day is also more damaging to your system. You’ll see several years added to the life of your system if you use it only when necessary instead of relying on the superstition that constantly running a system is somehow beneficial. Cut this habit now, and you’ll also notice a difference in your utility bills in no time. Most people don’t realize that by altering the temperature on the thermostat by one degree, your air conditioner is working at a difference of 5% — resulting in you saving or wasting your money in the long run. Pick the temperature that is right for you and your family.

The best way to maximize your savings and your comfort level is to purchase a programmable thermostat. It’s one of the first things I purchase when I buy a home (if there isn’t one already present). They pay for themselves quickly and you can enjoy a comfortable house, a well-functioning air conditioner, and a happy family. There are some great ones out there to purchase, but here are a few of the most popular.

That being said, it’s also not wise to leave your system running hard constantly. While running full blast is efficient on start-up, inching the thermostat to leave it constantly on full blast will leave your home freezing cold in July and can increase your energy bill.

Related Read: 43 Ways to Save More Money Today

The cost of running an air conditioner can go well over two dollars per hour. By switching off your air conditioner while away, you’ll immediately see the change in your future bills. Knowing that you’re saving money while using your air conditioner in an efficient manner will keep you and your family happier in the long run.

So, the answer to the question is: Don’t leave your A/C running when you’re gone!

The best option for you and most people is to create a schedule with your programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you are not around. This will allow the system to be off more often. Please note, if you have pets, please know what you need to do for them to make them comfortable during the day. Don’t turn your temperature up to 90 to save money. That could harm your animals.

Related Tips to Reduce Your Cooling Bills

We won’t leave you hanging with just answering this question. You should know a few more ways to save money with your air conditioner.

First and foremost, make sure you get it serviced regularly. Most experts suggest twice a year (once in the Spring and once in the Fall). This is especially important when you have one system that does both heating and cooling. Always ask around for deals to see which company can provide you the service for the best price. You can’t get a discount unless you ask!

Second, if you have ceiling fans, use them! They are a great way to keep cooler and to push warm air out of your house. It also will help you circulate the cold air from the A/C around the house. Ceiling fans are excellent distributors of air and a great way to save more money on your utility bills.

Third, play with your thermostat settings to see what comfort level you can get away with. For every degree you raise or lower your thermostat, the more money or less money you save (depending on the season). Remember, for every degree, your A/C can be 5% more or less efficient. Those savings can add up over time.

What other great tips do you have to save money on your cooling bills?

Author Bio: Jason Wall is an HVAC technician who writes tips on air conditioning and heating for Griffith Energy Services. When he isn’t working or writing, he can be found enjoying a good baseball game or spending time with his family.


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