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Is It Cheaper to Leave the AC on All Day in Fort Myers, FL?

Most summer days, Fort Myers has a temperature in the 90s Fahrenheit. Essentially, summer temperatures soar in Fort Myers, Florida. 

This brings up the query of how to reduce cooling costs. Are you wondering about the question: “Will turning off the AC save money?”

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to understand how AC systems work, the factors affecting energy consumption, and the best practices for optimizing efficiency. Read on to learn some AC power-saving tips as well. 

Understanding How AC Systems Work

Air conditioning systems are designed to cool your home by removing heat and humidity from the indoor air and expelling it outside. When the thermostat detects that the indoor temperature has risen above the set point:

  • The AC unit kicks in
  • It draws warm air from the house
  • Cools this warm air
  • Finally, it circulates this cooled-down air back inside

Factors Affecting AC Energy Consumption

Your AC energy consumption isn’t steady throughout its lifetime. It depends on a wide variety of factors. 

Outdoor Temperature

In Fort Myers, where summer temperatures can consistently hit the mid-90s Fahrenheit, the AC system works harder to maintain a cool indoor environment. That makes sense it takes more energy to cool down the really hot air in the summertime. 

Home Insulation

Well-insulated homes retain cool air better, reducing the workload on the AC. Conversely, poorly insulated homes let cool air escape, requiring more frequent AC cycles.

Thermostat Settings

The set temperature on your thermostat directly influences energy consumption. Lower settings mean the AC works harder and consumes more energy.

AC Unit Efficiency

Newer, energy-efficient models consume less electricity compared to older units. Regular maintenance also ensures that the unit operates at optimal efficiency.

Occupancy Patterns

The presence or absence of people affects the internal heat load. An empty house doesn’t need to be as cool as an occupied one.

Will Turning off the AC Save Money?

Maybe you are one of those people who leave the AC on all day. Here are some pros and cons to consider for this action. 

Pro: Consistent Temperature

Leaving the AC on maintains a consistent indoor temperature. This prevents the house from heating up excessively.

Pro: Reduced Humidity

In humid climates like Fort Myers, continuous AC operation helps control indoor humidity levels. This prevents mold and mildew.

Pro: Less Strain on the System

Frequent cycling (turning the AC on and off) can strain the compressor. This potentially leads to maintenance issues.

Con: Higher Energy Bills

Running the AC continuously can lead to higher energy consumption. This is especially true if the thermostat is set to a low temperature.

Con: Environmental Impact

Increased energy usage contributes to higher greenhouse gas emissions. This negatively affects the environment.

The Case for Turning the AC Off When Not Home

Looking at the pros and cons above, does it mean it’s better to leave the AC off when the house is empty? Not so fast. Here are some pros and cons to consider. 

Pro: Energy Savings

Turning the AC off or setting it to a higher temperature when you’re not home. This can significantly reduce energy consumption. Lower energy consumption translates to lower utility bills.

Pro: Extended AC Lifespan

Reducing the operational hours of your AC can extend its lifespan by minimizing wear and tear. This results in additional savings. 

Con: Increased Indoor Temperature

Turning the AC off allows the indoor temperature to rise. This may be uncomfortable when you return home. A smart thermostat can help with this problem. 

Con: Higher Humidity

Without continuous AC operation, humidity levels can increase, potentially leading to discomfort and mold growth. Mold can be dangerous to health, especially for those with respiratory conditions or lung issues. 

Con: Initial Cooling Load

The AC has to work harder and longer to cool down the house when it is turned back on. This can negate some but not all of the energy savings.

Best Practices for Optimal AC Usage

Instead of worrying about turning the AC on or off, there are other steps you can take to reduce your energy bills. Here are some to consider. 

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. These devices allow you to set temperature schedules, automatically adjusting the temperature based on your routine. For example, set the temperature higher when you’re away and lower it before you return home.

Optimal Temperature Settings

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you’re home and higher when you’re away. Each degree higher can save about 3-5% on cooling costs.

If your home has multiple zones, you can cool only the areas that are in use, reducing unnecessary cooling of unoccupied spaces.

Ceiling Fans

Use ceiling fans to enhance the cooling effect. Fans circulate cool air, making the room feel cooler without lowering the thermostat setting. And they consume very little energy compared to an AC system. 

Regular Maintenance

Keep your AC unit well-maintained with regular check-ups and filter changes. A well-maintained system runs more efficiently, consuming less energy.

Insulation and Sealing

Improve your home’s insulation and seal any leaks around windows and doors. This helps keep the cool air inside and reduces the load on your AC.

Window Treatments

Use blinds or curtains to block direct sunlight. This reduces the indoor temperature and the need for excessive cooling. It can also protect you from harmful UV rays that cause wrinkles and skin cancer. 

For AC Service in Cape Coral, FL, Contact Florida Cooling Solutions Today 

Will turning off the AC save money?

If you have an AC that’s of an older model or hasn’t been maintained in a while, you can save significantly on your energy bills by getting a qualified technician in to look at your AC system. 

Florida Cooling Solutions has upfront pricing, 24/7 service, and leave your home as we found it, no mess included. Our licensed staff offers cost-effective solutions that fit your budget. 

Contact our team today to get your AC system looked at before the really hot summer days arrive.