Living in the midwest and other parts of the United States that experience prolonged heat waves over the summer months makes having an air conditioning unit a must. Without an AC unit, conditions would be unbearable to live in at certain times of the day. Air conditioners are designed to cool down indoor temperatures by pushing colder air into areas and rooms around your home. However, cooling the indoor air can be a bit more difficult when heat waves stick around and put a strain on AC units. Many homeowners often wonder if it is a bad idea to leave the AC running all day during a heat wave.
Is It Bad To Run The AC All Day In A Heat Wave?
It Is Okay To Leave the AC Running?
While it may seem like the heat will put too much strain on an AC unit during a heat wave, it is still okay to let the AC run if you take certain measures. The heat may be a bit too much for your AC to run at a consistent temperature all day. Therefore, you will want to set the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature than what you would normally have it running at. This will allow the air conditioner to operate with less expectation of colder temperatures which would push it to run a bit harder.
If the AC is running harder than normal due to excessive heat conditions, it can damage the entire system. Temperatures may not be exactly what you set them at, so you can expect a slightly warmer room. Nonetheless, this is much better than having no AC at all!
Avoid Turning the AC Unit Off and On
If you are going to turn the air conditioning unit on and will be in and out of your home throughout the day, it is best not to keep switching the AC unit on and off. Turning the AC unit off and on will require more power and effort to get your home back to the desired temperature, instead of leaving it on a constant setting throughout the day.
Clean Air Filters
To avoid any excess strain on the AC during a heat wave, it is best to make sure that the air filters are clean. When air filters are backed up, the AC unit will have to work harder to pull the air through and cool it. When the AC air filters are clean, there is an easy flow of air, especially if you are leaving the cooling system on throughout the day.
Cleaning air filters is a general preventative maintenance requirement. Therefore, if you see or hear a heat wave will be coming through your area, be sure to clean or replace the air filter in order for the AC unit to run efficiently.
Expect Higher Electricity Bills
One of the obvious effects of running an air conditioner all day is that it is constantly drawing power, which costs money. When an AC unit is running hard for an extended period of time during a heat wave, it may increase the amount of power it uses. Therefore, while it is okay to have the air conditioning unit on given the right precautions (see above), understand that it is going to result in a higher energy bill than normal.
Professional Air Conditioner Inspection
Have you taken the correct precautions and are still experiencing problems with your AC unit? If so, the best thing to do is call an AC repair company near you. A local air conditioner repair expert will be able to identify any missed issues or other causes. An AC professional will be able to restore the unit to the condition it needs to be in to keep you cool during an extreme heat wave.
Additional Reading: Stay Cool in the Dog Days of Summer – Energy.gov
Air Care Heating and Air Conditioning – Residential & Commercial HVAC Services in Omaha & Council Bluffs
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