Should You Open Your Windows When the AC is on?
Unlike many things in life, when it comes to opening your windows and having your air conditioner on, two is not better than one.
When the weather outside is pleasant, your first instinct may be to open the windows to allow the breeze and fresh air in. If you have air conditioning, you may already have it running to remove some heat and humidity. Should you open your windows when the AC is on? Having your windows opened while the air conditioning is on can actually cause more harm to your AC unit than you may realize. Unlike many things in life, when it comes to opening your windows and having your air conditioner on, two is not better than one.
Why You Should Not Open Your Windows When the AC is on
You may think that leaving the window open with the air conditioning on is a harmless practice that will allow you to get some fresh air, cool the space quicker, and move your stagnant indoor air. Unfortunately, leaving the windows open with the AC on it is not a very good idea and can counteract all of the hard work that your Buffalo HVAC system is doing and cost you in many ways.
– AC Must Work Harder: By having your AC run while the windows are open, you are putting your HVAC system to the test. Not only can dust and humidity from the outdoors cause long term damage to your air conditioning, your unit is having to run longer to get to ideal temperatures. 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 coolness. Even though you may believe the air outside is cooler, this can be misleading. The constant usage will cause your air conditioner to wear out very quickly, and as mentioned, the outdoor debris and humidity can also have an impact on its lifespan.
– Irregular Cooling: 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. If the open window is near a thermostat, that room will be impossible to cool, since hot air is constantly pouring in. While the AC is working to cool down the warm rooms, some of the areas of your home may be extremely cold as a result.
– Decreased 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. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates poor indoor air quality as an area of major concern, noting that common contaminants, endlessly redistributed by a central air system, can contribute to allergy symptoms and sickness. When you have a window open when the AC is on, not only does air escape from your home, but unclean air also comes in. This means that you and your family are breathing in dirty air that is largely being recirculated in your home by the air conditioner. This is bad for you and your family and for your HVAC unit.
– Increased Humidity: As we know, with heat, often comes humidity. Your air conditioner’s job is to cool your home and remove the humidity and moisture from the air. When you have your windows open, you are welcoming humidity back in. Your AC will need to work double-duty to remove the humidity. This not only puts a strain on your HVAC system, it will impact your pocketbook as well.
– Cool Air Escapes: 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.
– Higher Electric Costs: Any time that your AC needs to work harder to keep your home in the ideal temperature range, you can expect higher electric bills. If your air conditioner is having to combat warm moist air that your open windows are allowing inside, it stays on longer and at a higher setting. This means more money for you.
Everyone enjoys the fresh outdoor air, and while we should embrace it when we can, having open windows when the AC is on is not good for your home, your air conditioner, and your family. Keep in mind, even if you turn off your AC to open windows, if it is hot and humid outside, your AC will have to work harder to cool the space once you close the windows and turn it back on.
Reimer Home Services repairs, maintains, and installs air conditioners. We work with all cooling systems and all makes and models. Our experienced techs are true experts in all things AC, from the condenser to the evaporator.