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The Pipeline

By Dan Weltman

Will I Save Money By Shutting My Central Air Off When I’m Not Home?

We are all getting ready for Memorial Day weekend and celebrating the unofficial start of summer. For many of us, that means being out of the house for an entire day (or days) to enjoy the beach, the boat, or a friend’s cookout. For those of you wondering if you should shut your central air off while you are out this weekend, the simple answer is no!

Many people think that they will save money and be more energy efficient if they shut their home’s central air conditioning off when they are not home. That is not the case. By shutting your central air conditioning off when you are not home, your system will have to work harder to get back to your optimal temperature when you return – plus, you’ll return to a very hot and uncomfortable house!

Instead of shutting your central air conditioning system off, simply program your thermostat to turn the temperature up 7 to 10 degrees for the hours that you will not be home (and the hours that you will be sleeping for extra savings!).

As Energy.gov explains:

“You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates…In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible and ensure humidity control if needed.”

So, when you are getting ready for some fun-in-the-sun this weekend, take a few minutes to set your thermostat to increase 7-10 degrees when you will be out of the house. Don’t just shut the system down. The result? Lower energy bills, and a much more comfortable home to return to!