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Does Turning Your Air Up When Not Home Save Money?

A woman adjusts a digital thermostat
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

The summer heat has officially set in, leaving many of us cranking the A/C all day. While air conditioning provides some much-needed relief from the heat, do you leave it running when you’re not home? Stepping into a cool house after a long day of work or after being outside can be refreshing, but is it worth it for your wallet to keep it running low when you’re not home?

Yes and no.

A lot of it depends on how long you’ll be gone and developing a “strategy” for that period of time.

If you’re only leaving home from the day to go to work or school, it’s worth it to turn your air conditioner a few degrees higher, rather than turning it off entirely.

Turning your air off completely might seem like it would save energy, but it takes a lot more “work” for it to kick back on and get to the right temperature if it’s been off for a while—especially if you live in a hot climate.

A higher temperature in your home will actually slow the heat flow going through the house, so you’ll save energy and money, and you can turn the air down when you’re home in the evening to stay cool while you sleep.

If, however, you’re going to be gone for a few days at a time, consider turning everything off.

Turning your air conditioning unit completely off if you’re away for two days or more will save energy and money. But, be prepared to come home to a bit of discomfort—at least at first. Turning your unit off means temperatures will creep up quickly, and you might feel like you’re stepping into a sauna when you get back.

You can prevent that from happening by investing in a smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats are easy to install and even easier to control. Most brands allow you to navigate your air conditioning and heating units from your phone. So, if you’re going to be gone for a few hours, you can turn the unit up while you’re away and back down about 30 minutes before you expect to arrive home.

If you’re heading on vacation and won’t be home for a week, you can turn your unit completely off, and kick it back on the day you’re supposed to return. These smart units not only allow you to control the temperatures, but they allow you to monitor how your system is working.

In these economic times when we’re all trying to stretch a dollar, saving on your utility bills can make a big difference. Get “smart” with your air conditioning habits, and stay cool while saving money.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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