Should you turn your AC off at night? The pros warn against having it on while you sleep

HVAC experts share whether you should you turn your AC off at night or not and why

Should you turn your AC off at night? Here is a cool white bedroom with a bed with a dark wooden headboard with white pillows and sheets on the mattress and a white side table with a wooden base, a rose gold lamp, and a white vase with green stems in it
(Image credit: Getty Images / Woko / 500px)

You might be wondering 'should you turn your AC off at night?' if you've got air conditioning in your home and like to keep things cool while you sleep.

We've asked HVAC experts whether you should do this, going into the pros and cons of keeping the air conditioning running overnight. Our experts both reckon you should keep yours off to save energy and prolong the life of your AC, so we've also curated alternative cooling buys to stop you needing it on when you sleep.

If you want to cool down your room, the AC is a quick and effective way to do this. But, during the evenings, it will be worth considering other options to get rid of the heat.

Experts answer: Should you turn your AC off at night?

Along with wheeling out the best fans at your disposal, turning on your AC can keep your home feeling cool and low in humidity, which is vital for our bodies to cool down efficiently. But, for those wondering whether to keep the AC off at night, it's worth weighing up the pros and cons to help you make the best call for your situation.

Our experts have recommended alternatives which we've shopped throughout, plus we've put together a cooling sleep edit to help you get a chill night's sleep.

All prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

The pros of turning the AC off at night

A close-up of a white ceiling corner with a rectangular white air condioning unit on the wall and white curtains underneath it

(Image credit: Getty Images / bee32)

The question of whether you should turn your AC off at night or not is something both of our experts have been asked frequently by clients — and they both agree there are serious benefits to hitting the switch.

“Turning off your AC can lead to significant energy savings. I’ve seen many clients reduce their energy bills by doing this,” says Justin Bohannon, HVAC expert and CEO of Tech-On-Deck Heating, Air & Electric.

Using less energy is not only good for your wallet, but it’s brilliant for the planet, too, and will reduce your carbon footprint.

“And, another money-saving benefit of turning your AC off at night is that the unit gets a little break, which can help extend its lifespan long-term,” Justin adds.

If you’re committed to having a cooling breeze throughout your home at night, you can control the time your AC is off.

“I recommend using a programmable thermostat, which allows you to raise the temperature slightly at night rather than turning the unit off entirely,” explains Al Fouz, HVAC expert at Abaco Air Experts.

For example, the Amazon Smart Thermostat from Amazon is an easy way to switch from a traditional thermostat, can be controlled via Alexa, and can auto-adjust for you.

Al says setting the thermostat five to seven degrees higher while you sleep and then lowering it just before you wake up balances comfort and energy efficiency. 

“This strategy, supported by Energy Star guidelines, can save you around 10% annually on cooling expenses without compromising your comfort,” Al adds.

The pros of turning the AC on at night

A hand wearing a brown jumper and with purple fingernails pressing the button of a white thermostat with a gray screen, on a beige wallpapered wall

(Image credit: Getty Images / Maryna Terletska)

As with everything, there are definitely some benefits to having the AC on at night, which varies between households.

“Without AC, your home might get too warm, making it difficult to sleep. I think it’s important to prioritize comfort, especially if you have young children or elderly family members,” Justin says.

High humidity levels can make it feel hotter and lead to issues like mold growth — if you’ve made this mistake, learning how to clean mold will come in useful. 

One of the best cleaning supplies for mold cleaners is the Clorox Plus Mold and Mildew Spray that’s available from Walmart, which is safe to use on all surfaces and has smart tube technology that allows you to use every drop.

Our cooling sleep edit

Turning off your AC at night can be a good idea for energy savings and environmental reasons — but it’s important to balance this with your comfort needs. You can even choose a half-way house solution: keep it on during heatwaves, and switch off on nights you can tolerate without.

“I think experimenting with different methods and finding what works best for you is key,” Justin finishes by saying.

Another way to keep cool at night is by finding the best bedding and looking for breathable materials such as cotton.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.