The professionals at ServiceOne, one of Orlando’s leading AC and plumbing companies, get a lot of questions from homeowners about whether it is good idea to turn the air conditioner off or keep it at a higher temperature when they are out of the house for extended periods of time.
“Generally speaking, to maximize savings, if no one is home during the day, you should turn your AC off,” said Service One founder and president, Bill Gouty. “However, in Florida, it can be uncomfortably hot when you get home so it is really up to personal preference. Depending on how much your home heats up during the day and how fast your AC cools it down, turning it off completely may be unrealistic.”
A couple of tips that help you decide what is best for you:
- Manual Thermostats – If you have a manual thermostat, you will have to experiment with the daytime temperature setting that works best for you and adjust according to the season.
- Programmable Thermostats – Upgrading to a programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature in advance so that you don’t have to adjust the temperature yourself when you get home. You can try setting the temperature as high as it goes while you are out with it programmed to return to your preferred temperature an hour before you get home.
- High Tech Thermostats – Some new, high-tech thermostats even let you check the temperature inside your house and remotely change the thermostat setting from your computer or mobile device before you head home.
- Pets – If you have pets in the home, be sure to check with your vet about the safest temperature for your animals.
- Multiple Units – If you have more than one AC unit, the same suggestions apply. When you are home, you can save by running only the A/C unit in the part of the house you are using. Just remember that cooling two separate zones works best if you can close off the area of the home where you are running the air conditioner from the other part where the A/C is turned off.
- Mold Risk – Some customers are concerned about mold growth if the thermostat is set too high. Humidity is highest during the cooler early morning hours so as temperatures rise during the day, the relative humidity actually goes down, discouraging mold growth. As long as your A/C runs for a few hours a day, your home should be sufficiently dehumidified to fend off mold.
“The bottom-line is that if your thermostat is more than 6 years old, you may want to think about upgrading,” said Gouty. “At ServiceOne, we have many options when it comes to thermostats and are available to offer advice about settings. Just give us a call!”