When it’s blazing hot outside, the temptation to crank your air conditioner down to Arctic settings to make your home cool and comfortable is strong. What temperature to set your thermostat in summer depends a lot on your goals. Do you want to conserve energy, thereby saving money on your monthly electricity bills? Or do you prioritize personal comfort, regardless of cost? Either way, the smartest summer thermostat settings are probably a little higher than you think, for several good reasons.
Smart Summer Thermostat Settings
Average air conditioner temperature settings vary from season to season. Even within a given season, you might adjust your thermostat in response to days when the weather is hotter, cooler, or more or less humid than normal.
Regardless of those factors, when determining the best summer thermostat settings for our homes, many of us place a priority on both personal comfort and conserving energy (costs), and will try to balance the two. While many people believe a standard summer thermostat setting is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s actually too low for most people’s comfort and it certainly consumes a great deal of energy, especially on the hottest days.
For most, setting the thermostat in summer at 78 degrees F is low enough to keep the home comfortable, yet still high enough to save energy and associated costs. Take a few days to figure out what works best for your family.
How to Balance Comfort with Energy Conservation
Along with setting your summer thermostat at 78 degrees (or your desired temperature), there are several other simple, common-sense steps you can take to save energy costs while staying cool and comfortable in your home:
- Close blinds and curtains during the day, especially on south- and west-facing windows, to reduce heat from sunlight entering the home.
- If the area where you live cools down sufficiently overnight, turn off your air conditioner in the evening and open windows to let cool air circulate through your home.
- Use ceiling or free-standing fans to circulate air within your home and help keep you cooler. Remember to turn fans off when a room is not in use.
- Install a programmable thermostat so you can program it to run at a higher temperature for longer periods when you know you’ll be away (such as during regular work hours) and to begin cooling your home to the usual lower temperature about an hour before you’re scheduled to return.
- Clean or replace air filters on a frequent and regular basis and vacuum registers to keep them free of dust, animal hair and other debris that can impede air flow through the system. Also be sure to keep furniture and other items from blocking the registers.
- Keep your air conditioner properly maintained with annual checks by a reputable professional.
- Keep lamps, televisions, computers and other heat-producing items away from the thermostat in your home. These might cause the thermostat to take a higher-than-accurate reading of ambient temperature, resulting in added costs as your air conditioner works to cool your home excessively.
- Avoid using the oven on hotter days, if possible, and run only full loads of dishes and laundry, since each of these appliances generates heat that can build up in the home.
- Consider installing exterior awnings over any windows that receive lots of direct sunlight (likely, windows facing south or west that do not have trees or other plants or structures nearby to block the light).
A Note On What NOT To Do
Common misconceptions about how air conditioners work can lead some people to set their thermostats to a lower-than-normal temperature in an attempt to make the home cool faster. This technique won’t work and is likely to result only in excessive energy costs or worse and cause your AC to stop working, so don’t make this mistake!
Call ABC to Keep You Cool This Summer
Call on ABC for any and all of your air conditioning needs. Our trained and experienced HVAC professionals can help you with setting up annual maintenance checks to keep your system running at top efficiency and we also respond quickly when your air conditioner breaks down or has a problem. Whatever your AC needs, ABC is here to help keep your home comfortable and your energy bills as low as possible, all summer long.