Shutting off the AC when you’re not home: Money saver or old wives tale?

When I was preparing to move out of my parent’s house for the first time and make a life of my own, I was bombarded with tips and tricks from family on sure-fire ways to save money.

One of which was to turn off my air conditioner when I wasn’t home. “Who are you keeping cool? The walls?” I’ve carried this bit of advice with me through my adult life. But, is it true?

So, I tested the theory. Let’s discuss the ins and outs of “keeping the walls cool”.


Simply put – yes, you will save money if you turn your air conditioner off at any time. Common sense says that turning off your AC unit means it runs less and therefore uses less energy because it is not cooling your home.

But wait, there are factors to consider before you turn off your air conditioner. Below are a few things to consider before jumping to shutting your AC system off during the day:

  • Furniture and Flooring
  • Indoor Animals or Plants
  • Comfort When You Return
  • Humidity Levels
  • Technology



warped hardwood floorboards from high humidity in the home

Wood or metal furniture can be damaged if it reaches a high temperature. If your AC is turned off, humidity levels will rise and can cause wood to expand and leave cracks in your furniture. Similarly, wood flooring and wallpaper can warp.



woman sitting on the couch with her dog

If you have a pet that stays at home while you leave, consider their health before exposing them to the high temperature your house would reach if the air conditioning was turned off. So, please consult a veterinarian before altering your home’s temperature.

Indoor plants, as well, are put at risk if the climate is too hot for them to survive. For both animals and plants, it is not the best idea for their health to turn off your air conditioner during the day.



A woman relaxing on the couch after returning home to an air conditioned home

If you turn off your home air conditioning in 85-90 degree weather, it will take time to feel comfortable again.

Depending on the size of your home and your air conditioner, it could take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to cool your entire home.

This means if you come home at 5, you will sacrifice your comfort until about the time you go to bed.

I would also warn against this if you have an older AC unit, as it will have to run continuously to return your home to a cooler temperature, stressing the unit and increasing the risk of an air conditioner breakdown.

Psst..if this happens, we provide same-day AC repairs throughout Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas.

Save our number for when you need us: (361) 800-2465



Mold on the wall in a corner of the room due to high temperatures in the home

Along with cooling your home, your air conditioner removes humidity. If you choose to turn your air conditioner off during the day, humidity levels will rise in your home. Mold and mildew love humidity and can affect your home and your health.

By the way, we can also help with air quality in your home. Breathe easy with a professionally installed air purifier that delivers hospital-grade sanitized air throughout your home.

Check out our air purifiers here.



phones and laptops

Consider your electronics before shutting down your AC unit. The intense summer heat of Corpus Christi can damage sensitive electronics.

Imagine coming home from a long day at work, you turn on the tv… blank screen. Talk about a bad Monday.

Now let’s get to the good stuff…



Turn your thermostat temperature up a few degrees during the day. We recommend staying below 80 degrees to ensure the health of your home and the factors inside.

Upgrade your thermostat. Programmable thermostats are popular. You can set it to raise the temp when you leave for work, and make it cooler before you get home.

This is a great place to start but to see the greatest comfort and savings, consider a smart thermostat.

google nest thermostat

Google Nest thermostats offer even greater convenience and savings. Using the newest tech, Nest will “learn” when you are home and when you leave. It adjusts the temp automatically.

Working late or heading out with friends? You can control your air conditioner remotely via an app on your phone. Nest will even alert you if it detects a problem with your air conditioning.

See our Google thermostat bundles here.

To summarize; yes, you can save money by turning off your AC, but there are safer, and more convenient ways to save money on energy bills, without sacrificing comfort.

For any questions or air conditioning repair in Corpus Christi and surrounding areas, give one of our expert technicians a call to help!

Eli Castaneda Jr. - founder and owner of Precision Air
I’m Eli Castaneda Jr,

 I’m the founder and owner of Precision Air. We are a family-owned business providing air conditioning and heating services to homeowners and businesses in Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend area of Texas.

With over 23 years in the industry, I am using everything that I have learned serving thousands of customers to ensure that my team delivers precise, dependable, and high-quality service whenever you need it; day or night. We value your business.

If you live in the Corpus Christi area and need to have your HVAC serviced or replaced, give us a call!

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