Should I Turn My AC Off When I’m Not Home?

A women adjusting her home thermostat

Keeping your home cool through the Florida summer heat and your electricity bill low is a tricky balance to strike. One key question many homeowners struggle with is what to do with your AC when you’re away from home. It’s true that if you don’t know how to properly regulate your thermostat, you may be wasting both money and energy. 

At AC Designs, our experienced HVAC technicians are here to help you keep your home cool this summer without breaking the bank. Our AC company in St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida is dedicated to extending the lifespan of your unit. Below, we’ll teach you our recommended air conditioning habits and key tips to use year-round. Follow our advice to stay cool while protecting your wallet.  

Pros and Cons of Shutting Your AC Off

Many homeowners think that shutting their AC off completely while away will save the most money, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, this practice can actually lower your AC efficiency and cost more in the long run! Common sense tells you that you’ll save money when your AC unit isn’t running. Unfortunately, this practice often puts unnecessary strain on your unit when you return, canceling out any positive effects. 

Think of it this way. If your air conditioner is off during the hottest periods of the day, the inside of your home could become as hot as 90 degrees or more. Your unit may need to run for hours consistently to cool your home back down. Plus, it will work harder than normal to cool your home more quickly.

Not only does this wind up costing you more money on your energy bill. This extra work for your unit may also have damaging, long-term impacts that require maintenance or unnecessary costly repairs.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home

Keeping your thermostat set to 78 degrees or higher can save you money and lower energy usage in your home while you’re away. When you return home, your AC unit will not have to work as hard to cool your house down to a lower temperature. 

If you spend a majority of the day away from your home, it is recommended that you set your thermostat between 78 and 83 degrees to avoid unnecessary electricity costs. This also prevents your unit from overworking throughout the day.

When your air conditioning is set to 78 while you’re away, there isn’t as much strain on the unit to return to normal temperatures at night. This can help you avoid premature AC maintenance and extend the life expectancy of your unit. 

If you like to keep your home comfort settings extra-cool, we also recommend turning down your thermostat incrementally by a few degrees at a time, rather than all at once. This will help avoid extra strain from your unit trying to cool your home quickly.

Benefits of Programmable Thermostats and Zone Control Systems

Zone control systems and programmable thermostats give homeowners greater control over their heating and air conditioning to improve energy efficiency. They make it easy for homeowners to save money on their energy bills while keeping their homes cool. 

If you find yourself forgetting to set your thermostat to a higher temperature when leaving the house or heading to work, investing in these systems may be right for you. A programmable thermostat can do the work for you based on your schedule. This way, your AC can operate on a consistent schedule, and you’ll never have to worry about regulating your home’s temperature yourself. 

Zone control systems allow homeowners to control the temperature of their homes remotely by zones. When paired with a programmable thermostat, these systems can lower the temperature of certain zones within your home based on their conditioning requirements. Monitoring your home’s temperature by zones allows you to cut electricity costs at an even higher rate. 

Schedule Your AC Maintenance With AC Designs

Dealing with the summer heat doesn’t have to take a toll on your electricity bill. When you incorporate these best practices into your AC routine, you can save hundreds of dollars each year without sacrificing a cool, comfortable home. Make an appointment with an AC company in Jacksonville, Florida that you can trust to keep your unit operating efficiently with your wallet in mind. Schedule an appointment with AC Designs today for all your AC maintenance needs.