Summer in Sacramento always comes with an annual debate. The debate over whether or not it saves money and energy turning off your air conditioner during the day when you are not at home. We always hear three answers, “no,” “yes,” and, “it depends.” Really, though, the best person to ask is your friendly, neighborhood HVAC provider. Let’s examine those answers, shall we?
#1: It Depends on the Weather
The larger the difference between outside temperatures and your desired indoor temperature, the more energy your HVAC unit will consume. At an outside temperature of 80 degrees, you use just a little energy to keep the empty home at 76 degrees. At 100 degrees, you waste energy cooling an empty house.
#2: Turn it Off and Save Money
If you are 100% certain that your home will not get hotter than 86 degrees, then you may save a little bit of money by switching your AC off, but keep these points in mind
- Pets can’t tolerate high heat any more than humans can.
- Medications can be ruined.
- Heat-producing appliances may run while you’re out.
- Turning off the A/C isn’t the best solution.
#3: Turning the A/C Off Doesn’t Always Save Money
Central air conditioning units work at the same rate no matter what the starting temperature was. Air flows at a steady, constant rate unless you have a variable-speed air handler. So either the AC unit either runs for a long time when you get home, or it runs intermittently throughout the day. Here are some more points to consider:
- Most central air conditioners work most efficiently running full speed for long periods.
- Frequent on and off cycles increases wear and tear.
- Leaving it on isn’t the best solution,
The Best Alternative
A zoning system allows flexibility and efficiency by setting higher temperature in seldom-used rooms, and cooler ones in more frequently used spaces. Contact Clarke & Rush about installing zoned cooling areas which are controlled by programmable thermostats.
- Set programmable thermostats for empty-house setpoints around 10 degrees higher than your comfort level.
- Use this same higher setpoint overnight.
- Because the A/C will still turn on at the higher setpoint, pets and medications are protected.
For better ways to save money and energy than just turning off the AC in your Sacramento area home, contact us at Clarke & Rush.