Should I Turn Off My Air Conditioner at Night?

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Many SoCal homeowners are thinking of ways to cut down on household expenses, especially now that resources are scarce as some have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One way to reduce costs is to lower energy consumption at home to save on utility bills.

Air conditioners use up more electricity than any other home appliance. That’s why many ask whether intermittently turning off the AC saves on electricity.

Should you turn off your air conditioner at night? Here’s what you need to know plus some practical solutions to help you increase your energy savings while staying cool.

A thermostat on a wall

How Does an Air Conditioner Work? 

First, it’s essential to understand how an AC works to figure out how you can use it cost-efficiently. Your AC unit sucks out the hot air in your room and blows in cold air while also absorbing the heat in your room.

The refrigerant then carries the heat, passing it through the evaporator coil, absorbing the heat and cooling the air. The blower circulates the cold air in the room. Then, the refrigerant travels to the compressor, where its pressure and temperature increase. Once it reaches the condenser, the hot air is released outside. Finally, the refrigerant gets cold and travels back to the evaporator.

This cycle repeats until your room’s temperature reaches your desired level. Then the thermostat tells your AC to cycle off. This process keeps your home cool and comfortable even when it’s hot and humid outside, with the temperature registering at 95 degrees on a typical SoCal summer day.

Turning off the AC at Night – Does it Work?

Cycling off your air conditioner during nighttime might or might not save you on electricity depending on how you answer these questions:

1. Are you using alternative cooling devices?

You don’t want to sacrifice a good night’s sleep to save on utility bills. Sleep is one of the essential bodily functions that you don’t want to compromise. Perspiration can irritate your skin, cause itching and rashes, and trigger an attack for individuals with various skin conditions. Sweat also brings discomfort and disrupts your regular sleep pattern. Use alternative cooling devices such as whole-house fans, ceiling fans, or exhaust fans at night to keep the cold air circulating in your room while you are asleep. These alternatives use less energy than a central AC and are useful when the outside temperature is not too high.

2. What is the outside temperature at Night?   

If you don’t have a fan or alternative cooling devices in your home, you can still cycle off the AC and save on electricity. If the nighttime temperature outside is low, you can open some of your windows and let the cold air come in and circulate in your room. Do this if security is not an issue. An open window is like a welcome invitation for intruders and burglars to come in and ransack your house. You don’t want to end up losing more than what you save on electricity. Also, you need to wake up early and close the windows so that heat will not come into your room, especially during the summer.   

3. How Humid is the Air Outside at Night?

So, you open some windows and let the cool night air in. If the air is too humid, your air conditioner unit will need to work harder to absorb the humidity and remove moisture from the indoor air. It may strain your AC unit if you have a large home or numerous living spaces requiring air conditioning.      Plus, working your AC unit extra hard means higher energy consumption and more costly energy bills.

Energy-Saving Tips for Your AC

Follow these simple and practical tips to lower your air conditioner’s electricity consumption, without compromising comfort and indoor air quality:

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

You need to adjust a manual thermostat physically if you want any changes in the room temperature. Sometimes, this can lead to more wasted energy, especially for homeowners who don’t know how to correctly program their thermostats.

Do not program your thermostat at a colder setting for will cause excessive cooling and higher energy bills. Also, check that you are on the right heating or cooling mode whenever you set the thermostat.

Use a programmable thermostat for higher energy savings. This thermostat type manages your home’s temperature efficiently, which can lead to 10 percent energy savings annually.

More sophisticated versions detect human presence in the room, control the room temperature based on your schedule, and cycle off the AC unit when no one is at home.    

Raise the Thermostat Temperature at Night 

A smaller difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures can have a significant impact on your energy bill. Raise the thermostat temperature at night, especially if it’s not too hot outside.

Program the temperature as high as comfortably possible while ensuring humidity control. You can save 10 percent on your energy bills a year by setting the thermostat temperature seven to ten degrees higher than average for eight hours.

Use Your AC’s Fan Mode at Night

You can save on energy by switching your AC unit’s operation from cool to fan mode before sleeping. This way, the air still circulates in the room but with less work from the air conditioner, since only the blower fan functions.

Use Fans and Natural Ventilation  

Install whole-house fans that pull in air through windows and exhaust it via the roof and attic. Whole-house fans can provide adequate cooling even on the hottest nights for most climates. Seek professional help for proper and safe whole-house fan sizing and installation.

Use room fans to make occupants feel comfortable. Fans create a wind-chill effect as air circulates in the room. Turn off the fans when not in use or when you’re leaving the room.

During the cold weather, take advantage of the wind by opening some of the windows to create a crosswise breeze. 

AC Maintenance with Home Comfort USA

Ensure that your air conditioner performs at its best and not wasting energy through regular cleaning and maintenance. Thorough inspection at least once a year ensures the long life and reliable service of your AC unit.

Home Comfort USA’s 32-point tune-up will keep your air conditioner running like new so that you can experience maximum comfort without the extra electricity cost.  

Call Home Comfort USA at (888) 462-0089 for more information on the 32-point tune-up and other services or schedule an appointment today. 

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