Short Answer: AC Power Outages: Should You Turn Off Your Air Conditioner?
If you leave your AC running with a power outage, it may then lead to the tripping of breakers or fuse boxes in your house. So, it is best to manually turn off all appliances before power outage.
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Detailed explanation – AC Power Outages: Should You Turn Off Your Air Conditioner?
In the midst of the recent heat waves, everyone is concerned about keeping their home cool. But with so many options for cooling your house.
AC, exhaust fans, swamp coolers, ice boxes, and more, how do you decide what will keep you most comfortable? In emergency situations where the power is out for an extended period of time, turning off your air conditioner may actually be a good idea.
Many people don’t know this and end up having to call a repairman because they think their unit is broken. When the power goes out, it’s usually just for a few minutes at most. Keeping your AC running during these brief outages can cause irreparable damage to your unit and result in staggering repair bills.
Here are some things to consider if you’re deciding whether or not to turn off your AC during a power outage.
Air Conditioner Basics
Let’s start with a few basics about air conditioners so you know what to look for if you decide to keep yours running during an outage. You can find out how much electricity your AC uses with a simple plug-in energy meter.
The average AC uses between 2,000 and 5,000 watts, but it can be more depending on how powerful it is and how high the thermostat is set. Your wiring and circuit breaker will determine how many amps your AC will draw. If you’re running an air conditioner for extended periods of time, you should make sure it’s a quality unit.
There are two types of AC units: split units and central units. Split units don’t require ductwork and are usually used for cooling one room at a time. Central units are installed outside the house and provide cooling for the entire house through ducts.
Depending on how old your AC is, it’s a good idea to get it serviced before the next heat wave. You can also have the thermostat checked to make sure it’s calibrated correctly.
You May Need to Turn Off Your AC for a Short Time During a Large Outage
In the event of a major blackout that leaves your area without electricity for days, you’d definitely want to turn off your AC. But even in an extreme heat wave, you might have to turn it off for a short period of time. If you have a large power outage, your utility company might ask you to turn off your AC to reduce the load on the grid.
If you don’t comply with the request, you could be responsible for the extra energy used by your neighbors. During large outages, most utilities will ask their customers to turn off their AC, hot water heater, and other appliances that use a lot of electricity. You can do your part to reduce pressure on the grid by keeping your AC off until the power is restored.
Air Conditioners Can Cause Overloads During Blackouts
When the power goes out, air conditioners will continue to try to cycle on and off, which can cause an overload on your circuit breaker. This can actually create a dangerous situation for your neighbors. If the circuit breaker for your neighborhood shuts off due to the overload, it could leave others without power.
During a blackout, you should unplug your AC to avoid causing an overload and possibly leaving others without power. When the power is expected to be out for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to protect your circuit breaker. You don’t want to overload it and cause it to fail. Even when the power is restored, a circuit breaker that’s been overloaded may not work properly.
Turning it Off Could Help Protect Other Appliances in Your Home
When you turn off your AC, you’re also turning off any fans that are circulating the cool air inside your home. If they’re keeping your house at a comfortable temperature, they’ll stop working when the AC is turned off. If you have ceiling fans in your home, they will keep circulating the air even when the AC is off.
But if you have ceiling fans that don’t move air, they won’t be doing much good when the AC is off. With the AC off, your house could get much warmer, and fans will only be able to do so much to keep the air cool. The only way to keep your house cool without the AC is to open windows, use ice boxes, or use a swamp cooler.
Installing a Smart Thermostat Might Be a Good Idea
If your AC unit is turned off, you’ll need to wait for the power to come back on before you can turn it back on. If you’re expecting the power to be out for a long period of time, you might consider installing a smart thermostat. These types of thermostats require minimal wiring and can be controlled remotely with an app.
You can set them to turn your AC on and off at specific times, allowing you to get the most out of your unit. You can also set them to keep your home cool when you’re not there. This can help you save money by avoiding AC-related power outages.
Should You Just Leave the AC Unplugged?
If you’ve determined that you don’t need to turn off your AC during short outages, you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to just leave it plugged in all the time. Some people suggest that this will help your unit last longer and save you money on repairs.
However, it’s been proven that leaving your AC plugged in all the time can increase your energy bill and shorten the life of your unit. The air inside your house may get too cool, and you’ll have to run your AC for longer periods of time. This will increase your energy bill and shorten the lifespan of your AC.
Air conditioners are meant to remove heat from your home, so leaving yours plugged in all the time will force it to run longer and remove more heat than it normally would.
It’s always a good idea to protect your AC unit during an outage or extreme heat wave. You don’t have to turn it off completely, just make sure it’s not overheating by keeping your vents closed. You may also want to consider installing a smart thermostat to keep your unit from running too long and wearing out.
If you’ve determined that you don’t need to turn off your AC completely, make sure it’s not plugged in all the time.