What Temperature Should the A/C Be Set to in the Summer?
Everyone seems to have an opinion on how low the indoor temperature should be in the summer when running the air conditioning.
Many people just think 72 degrees because that’s standard room temperature, but others think it should be higher when it’s hotter outside. Recently, while inspecting a rented house, I saw that the tenant had set their air conditioning to 55 degrees!
What temperature should the air conditioning be set at in your home for the summer? What factors should you consider when making this decision?
Why You Might Want to Set the Temperature a Bit Higher Than Your Refrigerator
Thirty-seven degrees is a good cold temperature for your refrigerator. When it’s really hot outside you might be tempted to cool off by climbing into your fridge, but 37 is actually too cold, especially given what you’re wearing in the summer! Somewhere in the range of 73 to 79 degrees is a good indoor temperature in the summer (according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers).
On the hottest days outside, you might want to move your thermostat toward the higher end of that range because the hotter it is outside the more money it will cost you to cool your house. Each degree lower is costing you dollars (hard to define exactly how much as electricity rates vary greatly). For this reason, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home in the summer—it’s cool enough and will save you money.
Raise the Temperature When You’re Not Home
The Department of Energy also recommends turning your thermostat up seven to ten degrees when no one is home. They estimate you can save as much as 10 percent on cooling costs by raising the temperature whenever you’re away from home for more than two hours. Some people mistakenly believe it’s better to leave the temperature where you want it so that the air conditioning doesn’t have to work so hard when you get home. It really is more energy efficient to raise the temperature when you’re not home and then cool it off when you get home.
Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
Instead of always trying to remember to turn the thermostat down to 76 when you’re home and up to 84 before you leave, a programmable or smart thermostat is a great investment. You can easily program it start cooling the house down 30 minutes before you get home from work so it’s a comfortable temperature by the time you arrive. You can also program a temperature change for the night while you’re sleeping. And smart thermostats will let you control the temperature using your phone so that you can easily adjust the programming if your schedule changes.
Now, setting your thermostat at the right temperature for your house will work well as long as your air conditioning is working well. Be sure your air conditioning can keep your home comfortable by having it regularly serviced by a qualified HVAC technician.