Does Turning My AC On and Off Raise My Electric Bill?

If you get a utility bill that’s a little higher than you’d like to see, you may be tempted to turn your AC off next time you leave the house. It would seem like the logical thing to do; as you leave the house or have less need for the AC, turn it off. Then, when coming home or if the home starts to get a little too hot, simply turn it back on. Or, does turning your AC on and off actually raise your electric bill?

The answer isn’t completely straightforward. Factors such as the size of the home, how long you will be away from the home, and the temperature the AC is working to achieve will ultimately answer the question of whether turning an AC on and off will raise an electric bill.

However, it is safe to say that if a homeowner leaves their home for more than a few hours, it is worthwhile to turning off the AC. Although some may argue that it takes more energy to start and stop the AC, the amount of energy saved while away from the home will outweigh the starting or stopping of the system.

If you love the idea of saving money, but hate the idea of coming home after a long day at work to a hot house, a programmable thermostat is going to be something worth looking into! A programmable thermostat is one of the best things you can do to save money on your electric bill and take control of your AC.

With a programmable thermostat, you can set it to turn off the AC just before leaving the house for an eight-hour work day. Then, you can program it to turn back on a half hour or so before returning home. That way, you are saving energy for 7+ hours without sacrificing the comfort a cool home offers.

If the idea of completely shutting off your AC while you’re away seems a little excessive, you can use a programmable thermostat to simply raise the temperature in your home while you are away instead.  Even raising the temperature by a few degrees while out of the house can save a lot of money on an electric bill.

But what if you’ll be away for an extended period of time? Vacation or work trips may take homeowners away for weeks at a time. In this case, do what’s comfortable for you. You can turn the AC off completely to save big on electricity while you’re away. Or, set your AC high, to 85 degrees for example, just to keep air moving and protect the contents of your home. A temperature that high won’t take as much energy to maintain as a comfortable living temperature of 72, thus saving you on your electric bill.

Besides adjusting the temperature of your AC or buying a programmable thermostat to do it for you, remember to keep doors and windows closed and use blinds to keep hot air out and cool air in.  Keeping up to date on regular AC maintenance from trusted professionals like those at Complete Heating and Air will keep your system functioning most effectively to keep your house cool and your electric bill low.