Our June weather in Phoenix, AZ is sometimes much too hot to even think about going outside, and other days it can be really pleasant and make you want to seek out some fresh air. If your home has been closed up, and the weather is enjoyable, you may think about opening some windows to let the breeze and outside air in. While this can be great for indoor air quality, could it cost you if you already have your air conditioning running? When the AC is on, should you open your home’s windows?
When the AC is on, Should you Open Your Home’s Windows?
We will get right to the point. You should not open your home’s windows when the AC is on, in fact, it can cause you costly problems and issues with your HVAC system. Why?
- When the windows are open, the air conditioning must work harder to keep up with your home’s desired temperatures and it can put a strain on the system. When the AC is on, if you open your home’s windows, you are putting your HVAC system to the test and causing it unnecessary stress. Not only can dust and humidity from the outdoors cause long term damage to your HVAC system, your unit is having to run longer to get to ideal temperatures. Even though you may believe the air outside is cooler, it may not be. Most of the cool air produced by your AC will escape through the open window, so the air conditioner will need to be set to a higher setting for you to feel the effects. The constant usage can cause your air conditioner to wear out prematurely.
- It creates varying temperatures levels throughout your home when the AC is on and the windows are open. As referenced above, if you open your windows when the AC is on, it allows the cool dry air to escape right to the outdoors, this can lead to varying temperature zones in your home. A room that doesn’t have an open window can feel much cooler or hotter than other areas of your home, and vice versa. If the open window is near a thermostat, that room will be impossible to cool, since hot air is constantly coming in. The AC will be working to cool down the warm rooms; thus, some of the areas of your home may be extremely cold as a result.
- Having the windows open with the air conditioning on can impact your home’s indoor air quality. Having your windows open can let unwanted dust in, and that dust not only impacts your AC unit, it can lower your indoor air quality in your home. While the air outdoors is less stagnant than that inside, and there are benefits to opening your windows at least once a day, the dust and debris, especially on a breezy day, can have a lot of negative effects on your HVAC system and your family. If your AC is running when the dust comes inside, those particles will make their way into your system and be continuously recirculated.
- Cool air can escape leading to higher electric costs. This one is rather obvious. Even opening a window just a crack is going to interfere with your air conditioner’s efficiency and allow cool air to leave your home. Having a window open when the AC is on, creates vacuum pressure that will force the cool air out of your window. Any time that your AC needs to work harder to keep your home in your home’s ideal temperature range, you can expect higher electric bills. If your air conditioner is having to combat warm air that your open windows are allowing inside, it stays on longer and at a higher setting. This means more money for you.
We know, everyone loves fresh air, and there is nothing quite like letting your home air out, but if you are going to do so, you should make sure your air conditioning is off. This will help save you money and lower the stress and strain you are putting on your HVAC system.