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central air ? - keep on or turn on & off?

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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 09:46 AM
Original message
central air ? - keep on or turn on & off?
I need an answer to a couple of questions about central air. We got it installed last year and my wife insists on turning the whole system on & off and then on & off again, and so on. I keep telling her that the system will idle itself when it gets below the designated temperature on the system thermostat and that it is better to keep it on all the time to keep the temperature even.

However, she does not believe me. And, since I am not an electrician or an expert on central air, she will not take my word for it. So, I need some articles that will show this to her. (She is a smart woman with 2 master's degrees, but is stubborn about some things.)

Also, we have a 14 month old baby and I tell her that it is better that the baby breathe the filtered air from the A/C than it is for the baby to breathe heavy, humid air.

Thanks for any help - my internet searching skills suck.

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freetobegay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. Have been in Florida for 25 years
With Central air & heat. Turning it it on & off will raise your electric bill dramatically! Let the thermostat take care of it.

Also make sure to change your filter at least once a month. I change mine every two weeks.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. thanks - any links for proof?
3 good responses that agree with me, but my wife won't accept anecdotal evidence from online posters...

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GOPisEvil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. If you set the thermostat to "Auto",
then the A/C unit will kick on when the temperature goes above the desired setting, and go off when the temperature is below the desired setting.

I keep my a/c on "Auto" all the time, and set the temperature at 76.
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livetohike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
3. Keep it on
Turning it on and off uses more energy (this is according to my husband's uncle who has a Heating/A/C business). Also, keep it at one temp. Don't keep changing the thermostat.
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fairfaxvadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
5. Use AUTO and,
Get a programmable thermostat, set it the way you want it depending on if someone is home all day, different settings for the weekends, etc., and walk away from it for the summer.

Once it's on, I don't turn it off unless we get an unusual cooldown where the daytime temp is 78 or lower and the nighttime temps are 50 and lower and low humidity. Otherwise, at higher temps w/humidity (80 and high humidity is really uncomfortable, let's not kid ourselves), just keep the thing on and on AUTO.

Why does she think turning it on and off is reasonable? If you can't convince her otherwise, have the technician come back.

And if you have a 14month old, you need to just leave the thing on and leave it alone.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. she thinks keeping it on burns more electricity
Even though the system idles itself once it gets below the designated temp on the thermostat.
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johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
7. No links but
The thermostat is meant to take care of this. If you turn it off and wait until it feels hot enough to turn it back on, the AC will have to work harder to get it to the right temp. The conditioner doesn't only blow out cool air, it controls humidity. The humidity levels could rise higher if you let the house get "hot enough to turn the AC on".
I say...let the unit do what it is designed to do. I will see if I can find any links.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
8. Keep CA on and at one temp
Edited on Fri May-14-04 10:11 AM by supernova
it requires less energy to operate that way.

Mine is set to 76-77 in the summer and about 72-73 in the winter. I also get a couple of months of so mild temps in spring and fall that the unit hardly comes on at all. I love those months. My electic bill is like 40-50 bucks.

edit: Tips from Duke Power - http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/homes/loweringair....
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
9. Jeff what kind of unit is it? Trane or who?
Edited on Fri May-14-04 10:19 AM by AZDemDist6
go to their website it should have lots of good info for you.

here's a link

http://www.buyersinspectionservice.com/heat-thermset-fa...
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DU_widow Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
10. keep it steady....save money.
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Misunderestimator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
11. Here are some links....
for your stubborn wife :) (who, by the way, I think is right)

This one says "For economical operation, turn it on only when your home is occupied"

http://www.eere.energy.gov/erec/factsheets/aircond.html

This one also says nearly the same but it assumes that you are away for an entire day:

"For those warm days, set the air conditioning thermostat for cooling to 78 degrees or higher. Raise the setting a few degrees when away in the day, or turn it off."

http://talgov.com/citytlh/utilities/energy/tips.html

Personally, I would turn it off if you're going to be gone more than a day... but would turn it to a high setting otherwise.

And finally.. "When you leave home, turn off the air conditioning or set the thermostat up a few degrees."

http://www.progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/learningctr/...
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wysimdnwyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. All of these items can be better handled by...
a programmable thermostat.

For AC, I have mine set to a higher temp while I'm gone during the day, then it cools back down about 30 minutes before I get home. For the heater, I keep it set lower both during the day and at night.

If the weather is nice out (not too hot, not too cool), I will turn it off completely and open the windows. If I open the right ones, I can get some good air flow without any fans at all. I prefer to do that at night (only if there's no chance of rain) and during the day whenever I can leave the air off for at least four or five hours. So far this month, I've only had the AC on for about three days.


*** One caveat: If you have indoor pets, make sure your HVAC system will not allow it to get either too cold or too hot inside if you'll be gone for a while. If it's 90+ outside, don't turn your air off completely and leave the dog inside all day. It WILL get hot in there, and the dog will, at best, be miserable. It's not as bad as leaving them in a hot car, but only because there's a larger volume of air. It'll still get hot.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
12. kick - nothing specific yet
I even checked the energy star website - I found a LOT about programmable thermostats and turning the AC off if you're away for a length of time, but nothing that specifically says it is better to leave the system on or on auto...

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StayOutTheBushes Donating Member (218 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
13. Keep it turned off and walk or ride a bicycle.
You are using precious energy.
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