How your AC works.
An air conditioner’s primary function is to keep our homes cool during warm weather as it absorbs heat from enclosed spaces, cools it, then distributes the cool air all over the enclosed area. When you turn on the AC, air vents transfer warm air from rooms throughout your home to the AC, then the evaporator coil absorbs the heat and cools it with refrigerant, which is then stored inside the coil. Meanwhile, a fan blows the cool air into the air ducts, and the latter distribute it throughout the house.
Will you save energy and money if you turn off your AC when you’re away?
Your AC will actually run longer overall if it is left on all day instead of being shut off. Meaning, If you turn it off for part of the day or when you’re not at home, it runs less and results in more energy savings for you. In almost all cases, it will save you money to shut off your AC while you are away from home.
But on the flip side, leaving your air conditioner on could actually be more efficient than frequently turning it on and off. Having your AC on also allows you to better control humidity in your home throughout the day. The lower the humidity in a home, the more comfortable it feels during hot weather. Turning your AC on and off periodically will waste energy, as opposed to leaving it on all day and bumping up the temperature when you’re not at home. That’s because more energy is required to reach a thermostat setting after the system has been turned off and back on.
I would say the best solution here would be to turn off the AC if you would be away for more than eight hours and have it run continuously if you will be back after a few hours only. Ideally, you should set your thermostat to somewhere between 80 and 85 degrees while you’re away. For most people, this is still warmer than the temperature they would have their thermostat set to while they’re at home while simultaneously helping to keep humidity at bay.
Save on energy and your electric bill.
In these times of inflation and ever increasing gas prices, it would be prudent to save on energy to lessen your electric bill and turning off your AC when you’re not at home is one of them. Energy costs money, and the more you use it, the higher the bill is going to be. In fact, air conditioners account for 6 percent of U.S. electricity costs per year, which is about $29 billion, as per the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE).