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September 5, 2023

Is It Bad To Keep Turning My AC On and Off?

Are you looking for ways to save on energy bills? Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing can help when you call (317) 648-5133.

Are you having trouble maintaining the perfect temperature inside your home? If so, you’re probably wondering, “Is it bad to keep turning my AC on and off?” Keep reading to discover the answer and more ways to save money on your energy bills.

As Greenwood’s best heating and cooling company, Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing empowers you to stay comfortable in your home year-round. We’re devoted to your satisfaction, and no one does comfort like us.

The Myth of Increased Energy Usage From Turning Off and On

In the same way that people falsely assume starting your car uses more gas than allowing it to idle, they often believe turning on your air conditioner uses more energy than allowing it to run when you don’t need it. So, what’s the truth?

Turning your air conditioner on doesn’t require a substantial use of energy. It’s also true that you should turn off your air conditioner when you don’t need it. But what happens when the temperature drastically increases throughout the day?

When this happens, your air conditioner will shut off when it reaches your desired temperature, but your indoor space won’t stay cool for long. This forces your air conditioner to start again until your home reaches your desired temperatures, starting the process all over. HVAC technicians call this “AC cycling.”

While this won’t necessarily use more energy than leaving your air conditioner on throughout the day, you’re not saving as much energy as you could be. It also increases the wear and tear on your air conditioner, which could reduce its life expectancy. 

Finally, frequently turning on and off isn’t always about temperature, and there’s a chance it signifies a greater problem. If you notice your air conditioner rapidly turning on and off by itself, regardless of the temperature, you may have a problem with the compressor. In that case, calling an HVAC technician for help would be best.

Better Ways To Increase Energy Efficiency

So, what’s the answer to “Is it bad to keep turning my AC on and off?” No, it’s not, but depending on your type of air conditioner and the conditions outside, you should use the following methods to decrease your energy use more consistently.

Install Programmable Thermostats

According to the Department of Energy, 78 degrees is the most efficient temperature for your home in the summer. It allows your body to stay relatively comfortable without running your air conditioner too much. Make a goal of setting your air conditioner to this temperature all summer and see how much you save on energy bills.

However, your thermostat can help save even more money if you turn off your air conditioner when you’re not home. Many people love to leave their air conditioning on when they’re gone so they can walk into a comfortable home. However, this wastes a significant amount of energy and money.

Instead, consider installing a programmable thermostat, allowing you the best of both worlds. You can program your thermostat to turn off while you’re away and activate about a half hour before you come home, providing comfortable temperatures without waste.

You can even install a smart thermostat that provides complete control from your tablet or phone.

Utilize Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are an excellent way to circulate the air and harness your body’s ability to cool through evaporation naturally. The Department of Energy says ceiling fans are the most effective form of cooling outside your air conditioner, and fans can make a room feel four to seven degrees cooler.

For example, if you have your thermostat set to 74 degrees and feel comfortable, a ceiling fan could allow you to increase your thermostat by that extra four degrees without sacrificing comfort. It might not seem like a significant difference, but experts agree that ceiling fans can save you up to 40% on utility bills when you use them correctly.

Open (or Close) Windows and Blinds

If the humidity outside is comfortable and the difference between the exterior and interior temperatures isn’t drastic, consider opening the windows in your home. Opening windows can create a cross breeze and, especially when paired with ceiling fans, help you stay comfortable at high temperatures without turning on your air conditioner.

If the temperature or humidity climbs too high, you’ll have to close the windows and turn on your air conditioner. Also, remember to close your blinds and block out the sunlight when the temperature rises too high. However, in temperate seasons or parts of the country, many homeowners who open their windows can go most of the summer without using their air conditioners.

Modify Your Clothing

The type of clothing you wear greatly affects how comfortable any temperature feels, but it’s something many people overlook within their own homes. Examine your clothing choices if you find 78 degrees an uncomfortable interior temperature. Use the following suggestions to increase your clothing’s comfortability:

  • Light, breathable fabrics like cotton, jersey, bamboo blends, and linen
  • Loose clothing that allows your covered skin to breathe
  • Clothing that exposes the skin, such as shorts and T-shirts
  • Moisture-wicking clothing, such as that made from polyester

Use Evaporative Cooling

Your body possesses an amazing ability to cool itself through perspiration. You can harness this power without sweating by spreading cold water around your body and allowing it to cool your body evaporatively. 

You can splash cold water or place a cold compress on your neck, arms, and legs to help your body stay cool. In extreme temperatures, you can also put ice packs between thin layers of fabric in your clothing to further cool your body.

If you’re running ceiling fans, consider placing buckets of ice-cold water around your home, such as in your shower or sinks, to lower the room temperature by a couple of degrees.

Clean or Replace Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter forces your air conditioner to work harder for the same results, using more energy and increasing your utility bills. While some specialized or high-end filters can last longer, HVAC technicians suggest checking your air filter every 30 days to avoid the complications of a dirty filter.

If you smoke, own pets, live in a polluted location, or have allergies or other respiratory issues, you should frequently check and replace your filter. Your HVAC contractor can help you determine the best filter for your air conditioner and home.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

When your air conditioner ages, experiences wear and tear, or needs repairs, it increases how much energy it requires to cool your air. By scheduling regular maintenance, you verify that your air conditioner runs at peak efficiency, saving you money on energy bills.

What’s the best time to schedule annual maintenance? HVAC experts suggest scheduling it during the spring to help your device prepare for heavy summer usage. Many homeowners also book a second maintenance check in the fall to determine whether their air conditioners suffered damage during the hot weather.

Improve Insulation

Insulation determines how much air leaks out of and into your home, and poor insulation is one of the biggest causes of inefficient HVAC systems. Your HVAC contractor can perform various tests to determine where you have weak insulation. Improving the sealing on your windows, doors, and crawlspaces helps keep the air where it belongs, allowing you to run your air conditioner less frequently.

Upgrade to a Newer Model

HVAC technology is constantly improving, meaning newer air conditioners are more efficient than older ones. If your air conditioner is over ten years old, it might operate for five to ten more years, but at what cost? A newer model could save you money, even when compared to the cost of installation.

When considering a new air conditioner, look at the following factors to choose the right one:

  • SEER rating: The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating compares an air conditioner’s cooling power to how much energy it uses, with lower numbers meaning less efficient energy usage. While older air conditioners could have SEER ratings as low as 8, modern models range from 13 to 21. The higher the rating, the more you’ll pay for installation, but you’ll also save significantly more on energy bills.
  • Cooling load: Your home’s cooling load refers to how much heat your device must remove to maintain a comfortable temperature. The higher your cooling load, the more powerful an air conditioner you require.

Let Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing Maintain Your HVAC System

Now you know the answer to “Is it bad to keep turning my AC on and off?” No matter your HVAC problem, Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing has a prompt and competitively priced solution.

Whether your air conditioner won’t stop running or won’t turn on, Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing can help. Book an appointment by calling us at (317) 648-5133.