Should I keep my air conditioner running at a consistent temperature, even when I’m not home, or is it better to turn the temperature higher when I leave and then back down when I get home? This is a question that every Arizona homeowner has asked at one time or another so they can try and avoid air conditioning repair. This is because nearly 85% of U.S. homes are equipped with air conditioning systems that cost, on average, about $375 in electricity annually, according to the Good Housekeeping consumer green guide. This is more than 15% of the average home’s annual energy bill! And with Arizona’s high summer temperatures, the cost could be even more.
Maintaining the Right Temperature
The desired temperature setting depends on the time of year. In the brutal summer months the average A/C temperature setting is 78°-80°. In the winter, 70°-72° is an ideal range to maintain. Every time the system must start up, it uses a lot of electricity and doesn’t produce much cooling. So when leaving the house, you should try to avoid drastic temperature changes. It’s important to not set the temperature back more than 5 degrees because this will cause the unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting. As a rule of thumb, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one cycling on and off.
The air conditioning thermostat is one of the key factors in determining how much energy your A/C will use and how high your summer energy bills will be. You can save significantly on energy bills in summer by using a programmable thermostat. In fact, homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Different programmable thermostats offer many different features. However, because they are electronic, they are all more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With a programmable thermostat you can control the temperature in at home at different times of day without ever touching the thermostat. Because everything is automatic, you will never forget to change the setting on your own.
There are several types of programmable thermostats and it’s important to choose the right one to best fit your daily schedule. You can learn more about the energy saving features that each model offers by visiting the ENERGY STAR website, energystar.gov.
Chas Roberts is the expert on air conditioning service and air conditioning repair. For more information from Chas Roberts on how to get a more energy efficient system, schedule an appointment online today or call (602) 328-5066 in the Phoenix area or (520) 618-1884 in Tucson.