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Turn it on or leave it off?

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Turn it on or leave it off?

It’s officially summer and the weather is heating up. This weekend I debated on whether or not to turn on the air conditioner. Yes I have central air and it’s very nice, but I also like to have the windows open, to feel the breeze, and feel like the outside isn’t as far away as it is in January through April. But it was 85 degrees in the house. I succumbed. I turned it on.

I know many people who live in warmer areas need to use their air conditioners as much as I have to use my furnace during the colder months. I also know people who live around me that keep their AC on from May through September without a second thought. And believe it or not, I still know people who don’t have AC at all.

While I do not debate that it’s a necessity at times and a luxury at others, I will debate how long to keep it on.  I guess until this heat wave breaks.

What about you? Do you like to keep the AC all the time? Perhaps you live in a warmer area and have to keep it on, but then do you open your windows during colder months? Ever miss the fresh air blowing in through your windows? Or hearing the birds sing outside your window? Do you find it hard to motivate teenage kids to get outside since it’s so comfortable inside? Or worry about the electric bill that will come next month?

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How do you keep cool if you don’t turn the AC on? I do have overhead fans and a stand-alone fan that work well, especially if you’re not moving around much. I have a pool and it comes in handy, but I have yet to figure out how to waterproof my laptop so I could work while floating on the water.

Share your thoughts here.

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1 sidney { 06.25.13 at 11:31 am }

I live in southern California and we have had 100+ temps already this year. We have central AC as well as fans. We keep the windows open to get a breeze at night and curtains closed during the day to avoid heating up the house.
I keep the ac set at 80. We can live with 80 temps but 100+ temps are awful!!

2 Aaron { 06.25.13 at 3:11 am }

I live in Richmond, Virginia so if I dont use air conditioning in the summer months, we’ll have a heat stroke lol. The temps here in the summer rarely ever go below 80 degrees as daytime highs and since the humidity is always so awful, we dont have very many cool nights in the summer. Tomorrow and Wednesday its supposed to be in the mid 90s with dew points in the 70s and that is common here in the summer. However, when fall comes i’ll open my windows because the air is nice and cool both during the day and night. In October, you dont really need AC or heat (but we do have to use heat when we have cold spells) I normally wait until November to turn the heat on for good. Winter is the dreaded time of year for me because it is so expensive running the heat 24/7

3 valerie bowen { 06.24.13 at 9:39 pm }

we don’t have ac….and really don’t need it…we live in central calif not far from the coast near monterey…so evenings are cool and mornings are cool…we have the windows and doors open all night and it keeps the house a cool 70 or so as long as button the house up ie close windows and door and we have thermal drapes and we keep them closed on the hot days…..only when we have had really hot days in a row does it get a little warmer than we would like…but that happens so rarely that it doesn’t warrent an ac…and i wear contact lenses…and ac’s dry my lenses out… out with the ac…of course we also don’t have humid air in calif …that is helps…….ok thats my 2 cents….smile and open the windows and let the cool night air in ….good sleeping weather….;)

4 Joan H. { 06.24.13 at 7:54 pm }

We have a lot of shade and the house is well insulated. So we seldom use the A/C. If we do, it is on humid days, I turn It on to get the humidity out then run fans to keep it cool. Ran it for the first time yesterday. It is turned on high right now, so not running. We went for a long time without any A/C, but had to get a window unit as my husband slept in the daytime and it was too noisy with all of the traffic. Finally we got a heat pump, which of course cools in the summer.

5 Mikki { 06.24.13 at 7:39 pm }

My a/c runs more than other people in my area but I have bronchial COPD and it helps my breathing. Being outside in winter is also difficult due to my COPD. Besides, the ceiling in my LR and kitchen, where I spend most of my time, is in need of added insulation and so my a/c runs a lot and when the temperature gets above 82 outside and there are no clouds, my a/c runs non-stop. I would prefer to have the windows open in spring and fall but we’ve had a cool spring and only the high temps started in Iowa last Friday. I say depends on the person and the area if they need the a/c on.

6 Stephanie { 06.24.13 at 6:36 pm }

I live in Northeast Indiana, so it gets hot AND humid. Ugh! But if it’s too nice inside, the kids won’t go outside. So, I keep my AC set at about 78 and use the ceiling fans with the windows/doors open. We close things up if the AC turns on…

7 Joan { 06.24.13 at 6:11 pm }

Humidity. If it’s 85 and humid, I’ll have the AC on. But often I’ll open windows at night when it cools off. I always prefer the open windows. This was as true when we lived in north central Texas as it is here in Ohio.

8 unclaimedjule { 06.24.13 at 5:15 pm }

I live in Illinois & find that the older I get, the more I indulge myself. By about 11AM I have to turn it on in this weather. Grew up without AC but find when I use it I am more productive. Actually feel better physically too. Usually by about 9PM I can turn it off & open the windows again…it is a daily routine.

9 Ruth L { 06.24.13 at 5:09 pm }

We love fresh air, too, but have central air for days like this in SW Pennsylvania, 87 with a dew point of 65. Ugh.
I watch the night temps, and the dew point. If the dew point is below 60, and it’s going down into the low 60’s, I turn off the air and open widows, and put a fan facing out in a centrally located window to pull the cool air in. Only close them during the day if the outside temp is warmer than the house, in the heat of the day.
AC is on our programmable thermostat, set at 75 during the day and 73 in the middle of the night.
We have 5 ceiling fans in the house, and they help, too.
Great question! Love to see what others do to beat the heat.

10 Pam Johnson { 06.24.13 at 4:49 pm }

I’m on the West Coast. This weekend we are forecast for 110-112*. We have both an AC unit and what we call a swamp cooler that water runs through. As long as the humidity level is down, the swamp cooler works great even in that high heat. If humidity is up, we have to run the AC which drys out the air. Using the AC is very costly, so we hold off from it as long as possible.

11 Susan T. { 06.24.13 at 4:43 pm }

I like to keep it on when the humidity is up and leave the house closed. But because they’re just two small window units, and I use a fan to blow the air to the rest of the floor, I usually only keep them on late afternoon thru morning. I think they need a break in the daytime hottest hours.

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