When summertime temperatures soar, it’s tempting to turn the air conditioner up as high as possible. But the enjoyment you get from that cool, conditioned air can turn into regret once you get the electricity bill! The best AC temperature for summer isn’t just the lowest thermostat setting possible. If you’re wondering what temperature you should set your air conditioner to in summer to maximize your comfort and your savings, we have some sound advice to help you out.
How Air Conditioner Temperature Affects Energy Usage
Air conditioning systems cool spaces by removing heat from the air. To do this, the AC uses an evaporator coil containing refrigerant to absorb the heat. It then transfers that refrigerant to the outdoor condenser to release the heat outside.
With this system, the AC uses more energy when there’s a large temperature difference between the indoor and the outdoor temperatures. The bigger the difference between indoor air and outside air, the harder the AC has to work to reach the temperature set on the thermostat. And the harder it has to work, the more energy the system uses.
Because of this, the bigger the difference is, the more it costs to run the AC. In fact, every extra degree of cooling in summer adds up to 3% to your energy bill.
Is There an Ideal AC Temperature for Summer?
What temperature should you set your air conditioner in summer? The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when at home.
If you can tolerate a higher thermostat setting, even better! You’ll save 6% to 8% on your energy bill for every degree above 78. But if 78 is too high for your comfort level, try adjusting the thermostat one degree at a time until you reach a comfortable setting.
Keeping Cool at Night
The ideal temperature for most people to sleep is around 60 to 67 degrees. This is 11 to 18 degrees cooler than the DOE-recommended summer AC temperature. Depending on your own preferences, it may be hard to sleep at 78 degrees. If it’s too warm at night to sleep comfortably, try the same strategy of adjusting the temperature one degree at a time.
How to Stay Cool While Minimizing Energy Use: 6 Tips
It might be sweltering hot outside, but if you’re trying to reduce utility costs, there are lots of ways to stay cool while saving energy. These energy-saving tips will help you reduce the temperature indoors. They’ll also help your air conditioner because if you can be comfortable at a higher thermostat setting, your AC doesn’t have to work as hard.
1. Schedule Regular AC Maintenance
Central air conditioning systems need maintenance twice a year to keep them energy efficient. The best times for this are spring and fall, or just before and just after peak AC season. This ensures your central air conditioner is in good condition for summer and that any issues that develop during the heavy-use season are taken care of quickly.
2. Consider Zoning Your AC
If your home is large or on multiple levels, it could make sense to zone your AC. Zoning splits the system into different sections using electronically controlled dampers. Each zone has its own thermostat, which lets you control the temperature independently in different zones. With zoning, you can reduce or turn off temperature control in rooms that don’t get used, potentially saving money on utility costs.
3. Be Smart When You Set Thermostats
If nobody will be home for at least four hours, you can save money by setting your air conditioner thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher than your usual at-home temperature. (You can also do this in winter with your furnace.) According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling combined by adopting this strategy for 8 hours a day. Once you get home, adjust your thermostat to a more comfortable setting. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set this to happen automatically before people return home.
Note that this is more energy-efficient than turning the AC off completely when nobody’s home. This is because it takes a significant amount of energy to cool a home down if it’s very hot.
Another thing to avoid is setting the temperature much lower than you need when you get home. This strategy doesn’t cool the house down faster and can result in unnecessary energy use.
4. Use Ceiling Fans
Turning on ceiling fans helps keep you cool by providing a wind chill factor. By using a ceiling fan, you can increase the thermostat setting by as much as 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level. But since ceiling fans don’t actually help cool rooms, you can save energy by turning them off when the rooms are empty.
5. Window Treatments
Energy-saving window attachments can help keep your home comfortable. There are lots of options for both indoor and outdoor treatments. In the summer, blocking direct sunlight helps prevent heat gain. To let in natural light, uncover windows that aren’t in direct sunlight.
- Inside: Blinds, shades, and curtains block out direct light and help prevent rooms from becoming unbearably hot.
- Outside: Heat-blocking films can be applied directly to windows. Other options include awnings, shutters, and solar screens that provide shade from direct sunlight.
6. Install an Attic Access Cover
Warm air rises. And that means in warm climates it’s very easy for lots of heat to build up in your attic. Even if your attic is insulated, that heat can easily escape via the attic door. The accumulated heat then percolates through the rest of your house. As a result, it feels hotter indoors, even if your AC is set to a comfortable temperature.
An attic access cover is an effective way to counteract that heat by insulating your home from the attic climate. With an attic access cover installed, the heat that builds up in your attic doesn’t affect the temperature of the rest of your home.
Stay Cool, Stay Comfortable, and Call CW Service Pros When You Need an Expert!
It gets hot in North Texas, but thanks to air conditioning, you can stay cool and comfortable all summer. Keep your AC in good shape with the help of CW Service Pros. We’re on hand when you need us for AC installation, maintenance, and repair, and 24/7 for emergencies too.