Is it safe to leave the air conditioner on all day? — During the dog days of summer, it’s tempting to leave your air conditioner running all day long. However, doing so can have a negative impact on your unit, which could end with your family being forced to use multiple fans and ice water to stay cool.
Is It Safe to Leave the Air Conditioner on All Day?
Despite mainly having two functions —cooling and warming your home— HVAC systems are relatively complex machines with various moving parts.
Even a small mistake or blockage point could mean huge repercussions for your system and could threaten the comfort of your home.
In addition to dirty filters, clogged exterior units, or even leaky air ducts, there are other problems that can arise in your HVAC system.
In many cases, it is safe to leave the air conditioner on all day, but sometimes, it can do more harm than good if your system suffers from one of the following issues.
Improperly Sized Air Conditioner
Bigger is not always better when it comes to your air conditioner. Much like a tailored suit, you want to find a system that best fits your living space.
An oversized unit can actually cycle on and off repeatedly, which means inefficient power usage and possible uncomfortable temperature changes in the home.
Likewise, however, an undersized unit will not be powerful enough to cool the home properly, which means an uncomfortable home and that the unit will wear itself out sooner rather than later.
If your home requires a new air conditioner, make sure the contractor does a complete load calculation to understand how much cooling capacity is needed for the home. Take into consideration your home’s layout, square footage, insulation, and a number of load-generating appliances.
Incorrect Air Conditioner Positioning
In addition to the size of the unit, the location of the air conditioner will also have a huge impact on energy efficiency.
Sometimes, it will appear to be convenient to put a bulky system in an unused corner of the home, but that just means it will need to work harder to cool your entire house.
If you find an outdoor-spot for your system, make sure that debris and shrubbery are either removed or trimmed back. The outdoor unit needs to have room to breathe so it can properly cycle air throughout your home.
Running Your Air Conditioner 24/7
On a hot day, it’s tempting to let your air conditioner run on high all day, but that translates into an extremely high electric bill in the future.
If your house is generally empty throughout the warmer times of the day, set the thermostat on a temperature above average, and lower it when you get home.
Some thermostats have timers on them that can control these settings for you, but either way, allowing the air conditioner to rest will help it from freezing up or causing major damage in the future.
Since air conditioners don’t last forever, anything you can do to extend their lifespan means more money in your pocket.
Not Running the Air Conditioner
While it’s not good to run your air conditioner all of the time, it’s also not a good idea to let it sit vacant for too long. Turning your system off for long stretches of time could mean that it won’t work as well when you finally turn it back on.
When your air conditioner sits idle, it’s possible for mold to creep into the unit or weather-related events could cause it to deteriorate. Instead of allowing the elements to destroy your equipment, make sure to run the air conditioner a few minutes every day during the warmer months.
Incorrect Thermostat Settings
Turning the air conditioner way down (e.g., from 80 down to 60 degrees) will not ensure that the temperature lowers any quicker. Try to lower the temperature gradually as to not overwork your system.
Your air conditioner may even skip past the desired temperature while also wasting a great deal of energy in the process. Generally speaking, it’s best to set the thermostat on the higher end of your comfort level. For many, the safe spot is somewhere between 76 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
Not Making Use of Ceiling Fans
In addition to the air conditioner, there are other things that can help cool your home. An air conditioner is not a substitute for a ceiling fan, but a ceiling fan can be an enhancement to the HVAC system. By circulating more air around the room, the ceiling fan adds to the AC unit’s reach.
Using a ceiling fan will also save you money in comparison to only using your HVAC system. A good ceiling fan also creates what professionals call a “wind chill” effect, which means you can stay cool in higher temperatures. As always, look for an Energy Star ceiling fan for the most efficient one on the market.
When to Call a Repair Company
In the end, while there are several factors to consider when leaving the air conditioner on, it’s generally safe to do so, most of the time.
As long as your air conditioner is the right size, positioned correctly, the thermostat is set right, and you’re making use of your ceiling fans, it’s okay to run your air conditioner.
If you’ve experienced any problems that can’t be diagnosed from the above list and you’re in the Nashville area, consider calling a Nashville AC Repair Company for a quick and affordable repair or upgrade.
Try to avoid putting off correcting any issues with your unit as they emerge, as you risk permanently damaging your system.
It’s also important to use repair companies for regular maintenance services, which will help prolong the life of your unit. Regular maintenance is well worth the investment, as it helps prevent issues from occurring further down the road.
While you should check your system’s air filter, window seals, and refrigerant gauge, HVAC repair companies will check more complicated aspects of this system. This includes improving your unit’s efficiency by making small calibration adjustments.