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VERIFY: Turning off the AC when you leave can save money, but more so in these situations

There's conflicting guidance on whether it's better to turn your AC off or down when you leave the house.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Temperatures are soaring and so are those power bills. Those looking for ways to save by cutting back on precious air conditioning might be thinking of doing so when they're not at home, but some online posts suggest there are better methods to try, and turning off the A.C. for several hours forces the unit to work harder to cool the house back down when you come home.

THE QUESTION

Can turning off your air conditioning when you're not at home save you money?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, switching things off for a bit can save money, but it might be more efficient and worthwhile in certain situations.

WHAT WE FOUND

"It just depends on how long you're going to be gone," Kureczka said. "If you're just going to be gone for the day... It's more energy efficient to go ahead and keep your A.C. on. However, just bump it up a few degrees higher."

The Energy Department reports that dialing back a thermostat 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling bills.

"The further away your thermostat is from the temperature outside, the higher your energy bill is going to be," Kureczka said.

The agency recommends a programmable thermostat when possible for the most efficiency throughout the day.

"If you're going to be gone more than just a couple of days," Kureczka said, "you're going save the most energy and save on your bill by going ahead and turning your unit off."

Other factors to consider when weighing the options include pets or heat-sensitive plants in the home, humidity and mold that might form with no climate control, your comfort level while waiting for the air to kick back in, and any surge pricing when the A.C. turns back on.

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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