How Long Can You Leave a Window Air Conditioner Running?

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Written By Thomas Johnson

Licensed HVAC Technician

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Window air conditioners are good for cooling small spaces such as studio apartments. Even though they are the best, you can still improve their functionality if you are following best practices. Buying the correct size, situating it in an optimal location, cleaning and maintenance, and storing it properly when not in use are just some of the ways to get the best out of your unit.

Curiously, most people want to know the best way to use window air conditioners. Is it safe to run it continuously? Will it cost too much in electricity bills? How long can you leave a window air conditioner running? We are here to answer this and other questions.

Should You Turn Off the Window AC to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill?

Unsurprisingly, AC units are electricity guzzlers in a home. Anything you can do to help is highly welcome. Indeed, turning the ac unit off can save you a significant amount of money. However, it is an inconvenience, especially at night. Will you wake up in the middle of an overly toasty night to turn the AC on? You can, but it is a bit tedious.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, installing a programmable thermostat is a much better option. Such gadgets can help you maintain energy consumption low while still offering you the convenience that you need. Set the thermostat to cycle every time the temperatures go above 78°F, which is ideal for pets, keeps your pets at home healthy, and the cost implication is not high.

If you are going away for a long time, set the thermostat at higher temperatures to prevent the AC from cycling too hard while you are away. Program it to cycle only when you need it to. If you are going less than 3 hours out of the house, leaving the AC on may be a better option.

If you are leaving an empty house for more than a day over summer, there is no need of leaving the window AC on. You can program it to power on a few hours before you come back.

AC units work better when working at maximum capacity. Instead of leaving the window AC unit running 24/7, you can program it to run at specific times. Doing so will save you a lot of money while enjoying an optimal home environment.

Read Also: Why Does My Thermostat Setting Not Match My Home’s Temperature?

Is It Safe to Leave the Window AC Unit on All Day?

A window AC unit is designed to handle 24/7 usage. The internal components and the cords are generally safe from normal use. However, it is only safe if it is used well. If you are at home, there is no danger. If you are away, it could be an issue.

If everyone leaves his or her air conditioning system on, the strain on the power grid will be tremendous. The best option is to set the thermostat high to reduce the workload. If there is a power outage, power surges can occur when they return.

Such power surges can strain the compressor, causing it to malfunction. In addition, if you are using power cords drawn directly from the sockets to power the AC, the residential extension cords and even some surge protectors may malfunction, causing a fire. The risk is low, but it is there.

If you are at home, you can continue to enjoy comfortable temperatures running the window AC unit all day safely. If something unfortunate happens, you will be there to prevent the damage.

The only drawback to running the unit continuously is that it can reduce its lifespan. The mechanical device is prone to wear and tear. The more it is used, the more vulnerable it gets. Giving it a rest can increase its usage over time.

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Is It Bad to Keep the Window Air Conditioner Running All Night?

The best answer here is that it depends. AC units work by taking the warm air in, cooling it, and releasing the newly cooled air into the atmosphere. It does not cool the air to any specific temperature. The continuous process of taking hot air and cooling it lowers the temperatures of a room.

So, how long does the window AC unit take to cool a room? It depends on many factors. How low do you want to go? If you want to go too low, it may take forever. If your room is big, it may take much longer than if the room is small. The size of the unit is also a factor.

Running the unit all night is not a problem if you have set the thermostat correctly. If you just don’t want the high temperatures to wake you up in the middle of the night and also don’t want the unit to cycle continuously while you are asleep you can set the temperatures at 80 degrees Fahrenheit for the night.

The temperatures rarely go above this level, meaning your unit will be in standby mode all night. You will have saved a lot, and you will still enjoy your night.

Read Also: Air Conditioning with Open Windows At Night

Conclusion: Is It Better to Leave Your Window AC On All Day or Turn It Off?

Older units are not energy efficient. Newer, energy-star rated window air conditioners are much more efficient. If you have an older cooling unit, turning it off during the day can save you a turn of energy in costs. However, your pets will be scorching in the heat. It is not a cool thing to do.

If you have the efficient models, the energy it will take to give you optimal temperatures once you turn it on is almost the same as leaving the window air conditioner on 24/7.

If you have the new energy-efficient models, install a programmable thermostat. It will give you optimal energy consumption control. You can keep your pets at home safe all day without breaking the bank.

It is also important to check your insulation and other things that can improve your overall cooling units. Regular maintenance of the unit can increase performance and give you better returns on investment.