Good Thermostat Temperature Settings for Summer & How to Set Your AC During a Heat Wave
Hot summer temperatures and more humidity in the air greatly impact the home energy bill. Setting your thermostat for energy savings is more difficult during a heat wave compared to normal seasonal conditions. An air conditioning system is pushed to work harder when there is more heating outdoors, which creates a larger gap to close between the outdoor temperature and the ideal temperature of the house.
You may feel like turning your thermostat down several degrees lower than the usual thermostat settings will cool your home fast and offer quick relief from the outdoor heating that makes you sweat. Watch out – this isn’t the best way to adjust programmable thermostats or control an air conditioning unit when the house is too warm and the heat outdoors is extreme. There are smarter ways to set the thermostat and achieve the cooler conditions you want with less energy consumption and waste.
When you know the best temperature to set your thermostat, you will save money on energy bills, increase air conditioner energy efficiency to save energy, and keep your house at a comfortable temperature despite the excess heat and humidity. Williams Comfort Air shares the best thermostat temperature setting for summer and tips for energy efficient use of your programmable thermostat in summer.
Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer
Indianapolis homeowners often ask us, “What temperature should I set my thermostat in the summer?” The ideal temperature settings for your house depend on preferences and goals – some people don’t mind spending more money to keep the house cooler, while others want to use a thermostat setting that maximizes efficiency to reduce energy bills.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the recommended thermostat setting for cooling energy efficiency is 78 degrees. Setting a manual, smart, or programmable thermostat to 78 F for cooling while the house is occupied provides the most savings, both for money and electricity. The Department also has tips to help you control cooling energy use throughout the day – the best temperature to save energy during the hours you sleep is 82 degrees, and set your thermostat to 85 degrees for the hours the house is empty.
Alternatively, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests that you set your thermostat to 68 F for heating when at home over the winter to maximize savings. They recommend homeowners adjust thermostats back 10 degrees from the normal set temperature over periods of 8 hours or more while you sleep or are out of the home for work and other winter activities.
Improving Efficiency at a Comfortable Temperature
For many of us, 78 degrees doesn’t feel much like cooling in the summer – in fact, you might say the house would feel downright hot at 78 F! When you want a cold room to relax in, setting your thermostat this high probably feels more like you are heating your home rather than cooling it with your air conditioner.
The thermostat temperature of 78 degrees may have you feeling like improving heating and cooling efficiency requires more sacrifices than you’re willing to make when it’s hot outside. Is the money you’ll save really worth it if you have to feel uncomfortable inside your home all season long?
Don’t be discouraged! While 78 may be the best temperature to set the thermostat for maximum energy savings, this is simply a recommendation – not a requirement. The recommended thermostat temperature settings are just tips to help you save money and use less energy if you want. Most importantly, the right temperature to set the thermostat is whatever thermostat setting that will provide a comfortable temperature and an enjoyable cool room for you and your loved ones!
Finding Balance to Save Energy and Save Money
With this temperature advice in mind, you can learn how to set the thermostat in your home to find the balance between a comfortable air conditioning system temperature and improving cooling energy efficiency.
The key to energy efficient temperature settings for programmable thermostats, manual thermostat models, and smart thermostats isn’t turning your thermostat to a specific temperature that is the same for everyone. The way to save money on heating and cooling by using less energy is to increase temperature settings higher than the normal temperature you would typically set the thermostat in your home for cool air. The more degrees thermostats are set above the home’s normal temperatures, the more savings you generate. Set temperatures as warm as possible while maintaining comfort in the home – it’s as simple as that!
For every degree you increase temperatures over 72 degrees, you save 3 percent on your energy bill. Increasing the thermostat temperature inside your home instead of keeping each room so cool, there is less of a gap in the degrees between indoor cool air and outdoor hot air. This means less cooling your air conditioning unit must produce to achieve a comfortable temperature indoors. When your air conditioner works less, it conserves energy, so you save money on summer energy bills.
To find the cool thermostat temperature that creates your perfect balance between comfort and summer savings, start at 72 degrees and adjust your thermostat up by a degree or two each day. The comfortable, cool temperature you arrive at will be closer to the temperature of outdoor heat than the lower starting point – your air conditioner doesn’t have as much cold air to create, so it doesn’t use as much energy.
If you prefer to cool your home to 72 degrees but are able to adjust the thermostat temperature up 3 degrees and still feel comfortable when your room is a bit more warm than normal, you are able to cut 9 percent off your summer air conditioning bill!
Cooling Tips for Heat Waves
When a summer heat wave rolls in, there will be a larger difference between the temperature of warm outdoor air and cool indoor air. Air conditioners are generally designed to tackle a temperature difference of up to 20 degrees between indoor cold air and outdoor warm air. So if a heat wave brings temperatures that exceed 100 degrees, your air conditioner is going to struggle to cool your home into the 70-degree range.
It helps if you are able to raise the cold air temperature indoors further during this period, but there are other ways you can reduce the cooling load placed upon your air conditioner system and help it work as efficiently as possible throughout the heat wave.
- Manage humidity levels inside the home. When there is more humidity in the air, you feel warm. Moisture in the air holds heating and the humidity keeps that heat around your body so you don’t feel as cool indoors. Use a whole home dehumidifier with your air conditioner unit this summer to control high humidity so it doesn’t feel as warm in your home. By removing humidity, dehumidifiers reduce the load on your air conditioning system so it can save energy by working less.
- Block out direct sunlight so your home doesn’t gain more heat, which forces the air conditioning system to use more energy and do more work. Keep window coverings closed during daytime hours between dawn and dusk. Window coverings block rays of direct sunlight through glass windowpanes that bring heating energy into your living areas.
- Block heat infiltration into the home by sealing air leaks. Openings around windows and doors, cracks in the foundation, gaps along exterior wall penetrations – these leaks allow outdoor air to come inside the home, carrying heating indoors. Caulk openings around the home and apply weatherstripping to windows and doors.
- Run ceiling fans to help your home feel cooler. A ceiling fan should run counterclockwise and only be used when a room is occupied. This motion makes a downdraft and forces air over the skin for a wind chill effect. Moving air evaporates moisture from your skin faster so heating from your body isn’t held close. Proper use of ceiling fans in summer can help you feel as much as 4 degrees cooler without turning up heating and cooling temperatures on programmable thermostats.
- Don’t add heating to your home during the day through activities such as baking, cooking on the stovetop, running hot water laundry loads, and taking long showers. The more heating you are able to keep out of your living spaces, the less cooling your air conditioner is forced to produce. Save these activities for early morning hours or later in the day when the temperature outdoors is cool.
- Use the air conditioner system fan settings to circulate air throughout the home. Thermostats control the blower fan – the AUTO setting will set it to run only when the air conditioner is on, while the ON setting will set it to run all the time. To help combat heating inside on particularly warm days, adjust thermostats to set the fan for constant circulation. The fan creates air movement that helps cool the home.
Air Conditioner Help in Indianapolis
Save money this summer when you help your Indianapolis air conditioner run more efficiently. The right thermostat settings make a big difference in energy consumption, but you can increase savings even further by caring for your air conditioner with maintenance service and cooling repair service to solve performance problems that cause increased energy waste. Call Williams Comfort Air today to schedule a service appointment.