It might be tempting to open your windows and let some fresh air into your home during the summer. You might even think that opening your windows while the air conditioner is running will help cool your rooms faster. Unfortunately, these ideas are misconceptions, and opening your windows with the air running could create some potential problems. From airflow issues and temperature problems to HVAC issues and air quality concerns, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t open your windows and allow your air conditioner to operate. Let’s take a look at some of the problems created by running air conditioner with windows open.
One of the more obvious problems created by leaving your windows open and operating the air conditioner is a cooling issue. When you invite warmer air into your home, the temperature will increase. Having open windows and the air conditioning running is similar to pouring water into a bucket with a hole. No matter how much water you put in the bucket, it will never be full. Similarly, no matter how long your AC runs, it will never completely cool your home if your windows are open.
One of the biggest reasons to avoid leaving windows open when operating your air conditioning is that it will create inconsistent temperatures in your home. Even if one window is open, hot air will flow in and mix with cool air creating warmer pockets around the home. Inconsistent temperatures will cause the air conditioner to work harder as it tries to remedy hot spots created by open windows. As a result, you will have areas in your home that will be cooler and several spots that are warm or even hot.
Opening windows during the summer is an open invitation for humidity. The longer the windows are open, the more humidity can permeate your home. Aside from cooling your home, your air conditioner also works to remove excess moisture or humidity in the air. Leaving your windows open while running your AC will be counterproductive as your system will try to remove the humidity while more is coming in.
Forcing Cool Air Out
Opening or cracking your home’s windows will interfere with your air conditioner’s efficiency. The competing airflow will create a vacuum pressure that will force the cold air out of the open windows and siphon air from other gaps in your home. This will be evident as your curtains and blinds are sucked against the window. As more cool air is forced out, it will be replaced with warm air that will increase the temperature in your home.
On average, your air conditioning system should operate two to three times an hour to maintain a consistent temperature in the house. When your system has trouble completing a cycle, it can turn on and off too frequently in a phenomenon known as short cycling. This can put great strain on your equipment and cause mechanical and electrical issues. If you operate the AC and leave your windows open, the system could become confused and continually turn on and off. Not only will this strain your equipment, but it could also lead to a system breakdown.
Aside from the cooling problems created by opening your windows when the air is on, you might also be introducing dust and other allergens into your house. Your air filters are designed to catch and trap tiny air particles like dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants. Opening your windows could overwhelm your air filters and allow allergens to circulate throughout your home. Poor indoor air quality could trigger health problems for those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues.
Opening your windows when your air conditioner is running might feel refreshing, but it could create some problems. When your system is running and your windows are open, your AC unit could be stressed or damaged, and your home will be subject to harsh conditions.