BOISE - With triple digit temperatures forecasted, we know air conditioners are working overtime. However, should you keep the AC on even when you’re not at home?
When it comes to cost, even KTVB was split on the idea. Do you save money by turning it off or do you spend more trying to cool your home quickly after a day in the heat?
It’s a question KTVB verified.
"As a general rule if you're going to be gone for the day you definitely don't want to keep your air conditioning at the normal set level you have when your home," Theresa Drake with Idaho Power said.
Drake recommends that you turn up your thermostat anywhere from 7 to 10 degrees.
“For every degree that you can increase and turn up your thermostat you save about 1% of cooling costs. So, if you can raise it 10 degrees, while you're gone you can save about 10% of your cooling costs for that day,” Drake said.
Turning off your air conditioner while you’re at work can save you energy, but at what cost to your comfort?
“You have to take into consideration, if you turned it completely off and you're trying to sleep at night. It's going to take a long time for your air conditioning to recover,” Drake said.
Drake says a number of factors, including insulation, size, and how much shade is around your home can determine how long it takes for your house to cool back down.
What’s the ideal temperature? It’s a question Michael Murphysweet with Capitol City Heating and Cooling says he gets quite often.
“I would say the human body is comfortable between 74 and 72 always, but everybody is different so it's kind of hard to tell everybody to set it at 74 or 72, but 74 degrees seems to have the best performance,” Murphysweet said.
There are some things you can do to help your air conditioner run more efficiently, including cleaning it every once in a while.
“Periodically, when you're out back or on the side of the house with the garden hose, wash the unit down. You don't have to use a power washer. Just give it a good bath and that will help it make it run a lot less and work less hard when it can breathe better,” Murphysweet said.
Don’t forget to change those air filters inside your home, as well.
“Somebody have really old air conditioners and they're like it's costing me a fortune to cool my house. Well, it wouldn't cost a fortune if you just cleaned the coils,” Murphysweet said.
Drake says if you’re leaving town for a couple of days, and don’t have a pet, you can completely turn off your air conditioning and it will be just fine.
However, if you are just leaving for the day, both Drake and Murphysweet recommend that you leave the AC on.
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