Should I Turn Off My Thermostat When Leaving Home?

setting the thermostat while you’re away

Many homeowners are under the impression that they can save money by turning off the air conditioner before leaving for work or on vacation. However, if you live in hot and humid Atlanta, this is definitely a myth!

Turning your air conditioner up while you’re away is more economical than switching it off completely.

The reason for this is that turning your unit off can cause temperatures and humidity to rise rapidly inside the home, leading to several problems.

For example, while you may be saving on cooling costs, increased heat can cause your refrigerator to work extremely hard which could cause the motor to fail quicker than it should.

Increased humidity can also cause your wood floors to buckle, plaster to crack, doors to swell, and mold to grow. The damage done over time isn’t worth the lowered AC bill.

A good rule of thumb is this:

If you’re going to be gone for 8 hours or more, turn the thermostat up anywhere from 7 to 10 degrees. So if you regularly keep it at 68 degrees when you’re home, turn it to 75-78 degrees when you leave. This will prevent your unit from running constantly while you’re away, but it will not get hot enough to cause other problems.

According to the United States Department of Energy, making this suggestion a habit could save you as much as 10 percent each year in cooling bills.

Can’t remember to turn up your thermostat every time you leave the house?

An easier way to benefit from this energy savings is to install a smart or programmable thermostat. Talk to one of our experienced AC technicians at Gagne Heating and Air Conditioning to get more information on costs and savings.