Should I Turn Off the Air Conditioner When I Go to Work or Let It Run All Day?

In the heat and humidity of a Northern Virginia summer, coming home to a cool and comfortable environment is a real treat. When it comes to energy efficiency, however, there’s been some debate over whether keeping the air conditioner on while you’re away is the smartest strategy. Does it take more energy to cool down an overheated home or to leave the air conditioner running all day? A real-world study on programmable thermostats indicates the correct answer lies somewhere in between.

A Tale of Two Houses

To determine if using a programmable thermostat to adjust AC settings during the day saves energy, the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology used their twin research houses to come up with a definitive answer. For the summer study, the thermostat in one house was set 72 degrees Fahrenheit while the other was set to 77 degrees. The study showed that raising the temperature just 5 degrees during work hours and at night cut cooling costs by 11 percent.

Go with the Flow

Because heat naturally gravitates towards cooler areas, keeping household temperatures a little warmer when you’re away, actually slows the flow of heat into your home. While turning the AC off completely isn’t cost-effective in regions like Northern Virginia where hot summer temperatures are the norm, using a programmable thermostat to raise the setting 5 to 10 degrees can significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Programmed for Convenience

The latest generation of user-friendly programmable thermostats adds a new level of convenience to saving energy at home:

  • Wi-Fi models allow you to adjust settings from your smartphone or tablet.
  • Energy usage reports let you evaluate your home’s energy consumption at a glance.
  • Illuminated displays with touch-screen icons make it easy to alter settings.
  • Automated alerts let you know when it’s time to change the filter or schedule maintenance.

To learn more about money-saving products that conserve energy while enhancing your comfort, explore our air conditioning services or call Commonwealth Cooling & Heating today at 703-436-8028.

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