What Does ECO Mean On An Air Conditioner & When To Use It?

Air conditioner manufacturers have strived to enhance the comfort of their customers. They continue to add more features and modes to their products.

People are familiar with cool mode and heat mode, but many don’t know much about the ECO mode. 

Simply put, ECO refers to an air conditioner’s energy-saving mode. When the mode is activated, it reduces the energy consumption of your air conditioner and lowers your electricity bill.

But how does it work, and when to use this mode in an ac? A lot of people have these questions, and I have got you covered!

This post will cover almost everything you need to know about an ac’s ECO mode. Without further ado, let’s get started!

What is the ECO mode on an air conditioner?

eco ac symbol

In modern air conditioners, ECO mode, also known as Economy mode, Econ mode, and Energy Saver mode, is common. Unlike other air conditioner symbols on the remote control, its symbol is so simple that it only has the letters “ECO.”

This mode, as the name implies, can help you save energy without sacrificing too much performance. That is, your room will continue to be cool or warm, but your electricity bill will be reduced. It functions similarly to central air conditioning, which I will discuss in the following section.

How does the ECO mode in an AC save energy? 

Now that we know what the ECO means in an air conditioner, let’s investigate how this mode can help with saving energy.

They may reduce energy consumption in a variety of ways depending on the brand and model. I’ll list the most common ones here.

Limit the temperature range

When the ECO mode is enabled, you can still adjust the temperature. However, you can’t set it too low in cool mode and too high in heat mode.

This makes your AC doesn’t need to run at the maximum capacity, and it is easier to maintain the room temperature. The compressor will run slower.

Turn off when the set temperature is reached

The central air conditioning system will turn off automatically when the target temperature is reached.

Split air conditioners with the ECO mode on work in the same way. It will not only turn off the compressor but also the fan, which can save energy.

To ensure your comfort, the fan will cycle on every few minutes to test the room temperature.

If it is above the set temp, the compressor will turn on automatically, and your ac will start to work again.

Motion sensor 

When you are not at home, the room temperature does not have to be kept as low as usual. The motion sensor is used by some air conditioners to detect movement in the room.

When there is no movement, and the ECO mode is on, your AC will raise the set temperature so as to cut down power consumption.

Sun load sensor

Some air conditioning units have a sun load sensor to detect the sunlight intensity. When the sunlight intensity is high, it will increase the output. Accordingly, it will reduce the output when the intensity is low.

Benefits of using ECO mode

Apparently, the substantial benefit of using the ECO mode is that you can save more money by reducing electricity consumption.

Furthermore, because the compressor and fan will be running at a lower speed or taking a break, these parts will likely break down more slowly. This means that your air conditioner will last longer.

Drawbacks of using ECO mode

The ECO mode is not as powerful as the cool mode. Some people like to stay in a very cold or warm environment, so the ECO mode can’t provide the cooling effect you want. 

Beyond that, the dehumidifying effect is reduced when the ECO mode is enabled. This is due to the fact that the compressor will operate at a low level or turn off.

When to use the ECO mode in AC? 

Honestly, the ECO mode in AC is suitable to use in most cases. It is perfect to be used at night or when you need to leave home for a while. It can save a bunch of money in the long run without sacrificing your comfort.

However, if you live in an extremely hot, cold, or humid area, the ECO mode may not be capable of lowering the temperature or humidity in a short time. Under this circumstance, you should turn off this mode and try to turn it on when the room temperature reaches your target number.

ECO mode vs. AUTO mode in AC

The auto mode can detect the room temperature and decide if you need a cooling or heating effect. It aims to improve your comfort and will adjust the fan speed automatically. It doesn’t have a temperature limitation and doesn’t always save energy.

The ECO mode focuses on saving energy consumption. The compressor will work at a low capacity and will make adjustments according to the temperature, sunlight intensity, or movement.


If you don’t know whether or not you need to turn on the ECO mode on your air conditioner, you have come to the right place. This post should have answered most questions you have.

ECO mode is a function to save electricity. It works by limiting the compressor capacity, reducing the adjustable temperature range, or using sensors to turn on and off or control the machine.

Unless you live in a place with extreme weather, the ECO mode would be a good option for you, especially if you are on a budget.

About The Author

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested dozens of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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