Inspiring Ideas for Modern Home

Turning AC On And Off Vs Leaving It On: What Should You Do?

Air conditioners are one of the highest power-consuming appliances, so many people shut off their machines frequently. But you can use a programmable thermostat to leave the air conditioner on all day while reducing energy expenditure.

Turning ac on and off vs leaving it on

If you are struggling with high energy bills, your first thought would be to use the air conditioner more efficiently. But it can be challenging to get a comfortable room temperature when you’re confused between leaving your air conditioner running and turning it off.

My guide looks at both scenarios and explains how you can save power while achieving the desired temperature. I have also described a few user-friendly ways to use an AC.

Decoding Popular Myths Surrounding An Air Conditioner

Before I address whether turning AC on and off vs. leaving it on is better, let’s discuss another common perception: leaving the air conditioner on throughout the day helps save energy.

Many people believe an air conditioning system uses less energy, leading to a lower electricity bill when you don’t turn it back on frequently. But this is not true because leaving the air conditioner running continuously is not an economical and efficient way of using it. 

In such instances, the performance of the AC fluctuates all day to reach the desired temperature. Moreover, the air conditioning experiences excess wear and deteriorates faster, resulting in higher energy costs.

Can You Save Money By Turning The Air Conditioning System Off?

Air conditioning systems operate at the same speed, irrespective of the temperature setting. All that’s different is they run a few hours more to cool the room down to the set temperature.

When you leave the air conditioner on all day, it turns on and off periodically to maintain a consistent temperature. But if you use it during a specific time, it will run steadily for a few hours to cool the room.

In other words, you will get more energy savings if the air conditioner runs less. So, always turn off the air conditioners when leaving home to save more money on cooling costs. Most importantly, check the electricity rates for your neighborhood because some suppliers charge more during peak hours.

For example, leaving your air conditioner on in the evening, when most people come home from work, will lead to excess energy expenditure in some areas.

Should You Shut Off Air Conditioning Systems Often?

Many people fear that running the air conditioner at a stretch puts pressure on the unit, leading to wear and tear. But this is only true if you leave the AC running throughout the day. You should turn off the air conditioner after a couple of hours but don’t do it often.

In fact, switching the AC off can be good and help save electricity. HVAC professionals have told me that when the air conditioning runs for a shorter time at full speed, it’s more likely to deliver optimum output.

But machines switched on and off frequently are more prone to breaking down, as small components within the unit are suddenly set into motion or stopped. So, run the air conditioning system more constantly to reduce the chances of short cycling.

Should You Leave The Air Conditioner Running?

From the above points, it’s clear that leaving your AC on throughout the day is bad, so why do people do it anyway? This is because sticking to a fixed schedule while operating the HVAC system isn’t possible for most people, especially those who work a 9-5 job. 

If you can’t turn on the AC during the day, there are fewer chances of your home having a comfortable temperature. Moreover, the humidity level can be high in places like Florida, and it might take hours for a hot house to cool down.

As a result, your interiors become more prone to mold and mildew, while delicate appliances can get damaged. 

Possible Solutions To Save Money

Here are 2 techniques you can use to save extra energy without sacrificing comfort to get the most out of your air conditioning system.

1. Turn The Air Conditioner Up

You must alter the thermostat settings to save money and keep your home comfortable. I recommend increasing the thermostat temperature rather than turning it off altogether, especially when you head off to work.

The ideal temperature range would be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so the AC runs less, and you end up saving money. Moreover, it will turn on now and then to keep the temperature comfortable.

This solution is for people who need to leave their air conditioner running. And after coming home, you can use it at full blast for effective cooling. You should know even a slight variation in the thermostat temperature can increase efficiency by 5%.

Homeowners who adjust their thermostats at 7-10 degrees higher can lower cooling costs by 10%. 

2. Programmable Thermostat

To get the most out of your air conditioning systems year after year, I recommend investing in programmable thermostats. With a programmable thermostat, there’s no need to change the temperature manually, as the thermostat automatically learns your schedule. 

Most leading-edge programmable thermostats are completely customizable, and you can easily adjust the temperature for energy-efficient use. 


A programmable thermostat can save you 10-15% on your monthly energy bills. The best part is that you can schedule programmable thermostats to start running before you get home, ensuring the room is at a comfortable temperature when you arrive.

Turning ac on and off vs leaving it on Conclusion


Only think about leaving your air conditioner on all day when you have a programmable thermostat. Otherwise, it would be best to leave the AC running and turn it off after a few hours. 

But whether you save more money depends on other factors like the air conditioner model, running time, the purpose of use, prevailing climate, etc. Also, make sure to call a professional maintenance service and clean all the components when the machine is subjected to heavy use.

And if in doubt, read my guide again, and you should have an efficient air conditioning system!