This is one of those summers where you HAVE to have air conditioning.

But should you leave it on when you're not at home?

Our friends at KTVB did the research, and there's a surprisingly scientific answer. Theresa Drake from Idaho Power makes it simple:

As a general rule, if you're going to be gone for the day you definitely don't want to keep your air conditioning at the normal set level you have when your home. For every degree that you can increase and turn up your thermostat you save about 1% of cooling costs. So, if you can raise it 10 degrees, while you're gone you can save about 10% of your cooling costs for that day.

Pretty simple, right? Turn the thermostat up 1°, save 1% on cooling costs for the day. Drake recommends not turning your air conditioner off completely while you're away, because it'll just have to work harder to re-cool your home when you return.

If you're looking for another way to save on cooling costs, Michael Murphysweet from Capitol City Heating makes it so easy:

Periodically, when you're out back or on the side of the house with the garden hose, wash the unit down. You don't have to use a power washer. Just give it a good bath and that will help it make it run a lot less and work less hard when it can breathe better. Somebody have really old air conditioners and they're like it's costing me a fortune to cool my house. Well, it wouldn't cost a fortune if you just cleaned the coils.

Keep your a/c unit clean, and ease off on the cooling when you're not at home. Scientific, and easy!


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