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Mythbuster: The Air Conditioner – Don’t Leave it on While You’re Gone

June 9, 2010

by Ashley Akin

As I ate my Cinnamon Toast Crunch this morning, I considered whether or not I should turn my thermostat up a few degrees while I was at work to save some energy. Using my extensive seventh grade physics background (Honorable Mention, The Wonder of White Out, ’97 – Whoop!), I reasoned it would not.

This was my scholarly logic: When I go running (those two days a year), I find it much easier to stay on level ground the whole time so that I don’t end my run with a vigorous uphill climb, a bout of dizziness and a trip to the emergency room (exhaustion is not just for the elderly, you know, so save your ‘shocked face’ for something else). Therefore, I assumed it was the same for my poor little air conditioner. Flawless thought process, no?

Well as it turns out, not so much. It is not more efficient to keep your house cool by running the air conditioning while you’re away. You start saving energy (and cash) the moment you turn off your air, and many houses are so well-insulated that they will stay cool and comfortable for 8 or more hours without any help. And all the while, your A.C. can kick back with a Mai Tai and a trashy romance novel.

Basically, the air conditioning scenario in your home is like that episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler find free porn and are afraid to turn it off for fear of losing it. (Bear with me, folks – this may well be the reference that gets me canned from this gig, so just go with it). You love air conditioning so much that you never want to be without it. You think that if you turn it off, it won’t come back the same. But then one day, you read a blog that all but pinkie-swears it will STILL BE THERE when you need it, and you try it.

You come home to find that your house is cool, your bill is lower, and your magic porn channel is still intact. (OK, there may be some mixed and inappropriate metaphors there, but you get my drift) And you learn the ultimate lesson: You shouldn’t make the A.C. limp along all day when there’s no one there to see it – let it rest and await its comeback. A.C.’s love comebacks, after all. Remember A.C. Slater? He pretty much invented the comeback by single-handedly taking down Valley in every episode of Saved By The Bell, all while sporting a wrestling onsie and a head full of Soul Glo. Preppy may have gotten Kelly, but he never pulled that off.

So when you’re gone, don’t leave it on. And B-buh-B-buh-buh-buh-B Go Bayside!

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