When it’s hot outside, finding comfort inside your home means cranking up your air conditioner. But with the energy cost constantly on the rise, people are trying different hacks to help them save energy without compromising on their homely comfort. Many people think stopping and starting the AC is the best solution. But, just like most things in life, the answer is not a simple yes or no. It depends on several factors, and understanding them will help you grasp the perfect balance between comfort and efficiency.

Does Turning AC On and Off Cost More?

One question we often ask ourselves is whether we use more electricity to turn the AC on and off constantly. We reason that it will make the AC unit worker harder to re-cool the home every time it is started up. But the reality is a little surprising. 

Modern air conditioners are designed to operate efficiently at full capability. They can maintain the desired temperature by cycling on and off at low power. So, here are two instances when turning your AC on and off strategically does help you save money in the long run:

  • Maintain the Temperature Inside – When you let the AC run continuously, the AC might struggle to maintain the perfect temperature. Turning off the AC and allowing the temperature inside to rise a bit will allow the air conditioner to efficiently cool the inside back to the desired setting within one go.
  • AC Wears Out Faster – When you keep your AC turned on continuously, it puts more pressure on your AC unit and it is going to wear out much faster.

When Does Turning Your AC On and Off Not Work?

While turning AC on and off strategically may work in most situations, there are certain situations when it might not be the best approach.

  • Uncomfortable Temperature Fluctuations – Turning the AC off and on often leads to uncomfortable temperatures inside the home. It may not be ideal for those sensitive to temperature changes or those who need a stable environment due to health issues.
  • Damaging Your Home – In humid climates, turning the AC off and on can cause humidity to build up inside the home. It can feel much more uncomfortable than hot temperatures. High humidity can cause cracked plaster, swollen doors, mild growth, and other issues.

Turning AC On and Off Vs. Leaving It On When Not At Home

We all know that running your AC all the time can be expensive. So, should you keep your AC on when you leave the house? Well, it depends on how long you are gone. 

  • If Leaving for a Day or on the Weekend – It is best not to turn off your AC when you are just going to work. The best thing you can do is turn the temperature setting a few degrees higher than what you would do when you are at home. This is to reduce the humidity level inside the home. When you return, do not put the AC to a super-low temperature to cool the house faster. It doesn’t work and will only increase your energy bills. 
  • If Leaving for a Longer Period of Time – If you are going on a vacation for more than a couple of days, you may turn off the AC to help save on energy bills. However, the temperature might not be comfortable when you come back. One thing you can do is invest in a smart thermostat that allows you to control your AC even when you are not home. Just before returning, you can turn on the AC so that the temperature inside cools down when you arrive home.

Beyond the Air Conditioner – Tips to Keep Your Home Energy Efficient

In addition to turning your ac off and on, here are some great tips by experts to help save energy without sacrificing comfort:

  • Invest in a Programmable Thermostat: These help you set different temperatures for different times of the day and keep your comfort on autopilot. 
  • Install Ceiling Fans: While ceiling fans do not cool the air, they make you feel cooler using the wind chill effect. It will allow you to raise the thermostat by a few degrees while still being comfortable.  
  • Regular AC Maintenance: A well-maintained air conditioner will run more efficiently. So, it is best to schedule regular checks by air conditioning service Dothan AL experts to ensure it remains in good working order. 


So, is it bad to turn AC on and off? There is no clear winner here. As you can tell from the above article, several factors determine the answer. By understanding these and your circumstances, you can easily navigate through this great AC debate. With a little planning and making adjustments, you can create a cool and efficient environment for your home.