man adjusting his home thermostat

Does turning my AC on and off cost more? Does it cost more to turn the heat on and off? These are questions many Central PA homeowners wrestle with when trying to maximize the efficiency of their HVAC unit. The goal is to achieve the appropriate comfort level throughout the day and night while also keeping utility expenses under control.

When you consider that you’re probably not home much on weekdays — assuming you work outside the home — the efficient operation of your system becomes an even more daunting challenge.

Should You Turn Your AC Off and On? What About Leaving the HVAC Unit Running All Day?

The age-old “wisdom” that many of us adhere to is that leaving your HVAC system running all day is less expensive than turning it off before you go to work or leave home for several hours. According to the logic, frequently turning the system on and off creates a power “drain” that leads to higher costs.

In reality, leaving your HVAC unit on all the time is not always a good idea. Why? A system that’s continually running is always working, which isn’t necessary during every season. More work throughout the year translates to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills. Cycling to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day is also taxing on heating and air conditioning equipment. The constant activity creates additional wear and tear that can lead to lower efficiency and possibly shorten the HVAC system’s lifespan by several years.

What About Keeping the System Turned Off All Day?

Of course, keeping your HVAC unit turned off throughout the day while you’re away isn’t always a viable option either. It might provide an adequate solution during the more temperate times of the year, such as late spring or early fall. On the other hand, no one wants to come home to a sweltering house on a blistering summer day in Central PA.

Also, leaving the HVAC unit off during the winter will lead to a frigid house, not to mention potential water damage from burst pipes.

Is Turning Heating On and Off Bad for the System?

Continually turning your heating/AC on and off isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing — it won’t cause harm to the unit. The problem is that someone has to be there all the time to make the adjustments as the temperature changes. If no one is home during the day, this becomes an impractical alternative.

What’s the Answer to the On/Off Dilemma?

Rather than keeping your HVAC unit running at full power or trying to gauge when to turn it on and off, rely on the system’s “auto” setting during the winter. Doing so will cause the fan to shut off automatically when the system reaches the temperature on the thermostat. Even better, consider installing a programmable thermostat that will allow you to create a schedule for maintaining the optimum temperature throughout the day. During the summer, it’s usually a good idea to keep the thermostat set to “on” for better air circulation.

Contact Haller Enterprises to Learn More

If you’re having difficulty keeping your home at the ideal temperature, it’s time for an HVAC system checkup. If you live in or near PA cities such as York, Harrisburg, West Chester or Downingtown, contact the pros at Haller Enterprises to schedule a convenient appointment today.

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