Don’t turn it off
To understand why you shouldn’t turn off your air conditioner while away, you should first understand what an air conditioner does.
Yes, it cools your home. But it also removes humidity. And in a climate like Kansas City that’s an important function.
For optimum comfort and for the health of your home, the humidity in your house should be no higher than 50%. More than that and you run into common humidity problems, such as:
- Musty smells and odors
- Peeling paint
- Warped wood furniture (floors, cabinets, etc.)
A long weekend is a great time to save money on your utility bills, but not at the expense of comfort when you return. If you’re only going to be gone for a short time, just a day or two, it’s better to keep the air conditioner on, but set at a higher temperature. Your ideal compromise between energy efficiency and comfort when you come home is probably somewhere between the recommended 85 degrees and your usual thermostat setting. If you normally like to turn the thermostat down to the low 70s, bump it to 80 when you leave.
Want to save even more money? Talk to an HVAC company about upgrading your thermostat. Newer thermostat systems give you the power to change your home’s temperature remotely with smartphone apps, allowing you to adjust based on changing temps outside. At the least, you can enter a new setting as you head back from vacation, so you don’t walk into an uncomfortably muggy or chilly home. Instead, your A/C or heater will be busily plugging away to get to the new temperature while you travel back.