Beat the Summer Heat: At What Temperature Should You Set Your Central Air Conditioning? | Recommended Thermostat Settings

Summer is a time of fun, laughter, swimming, barbecues, you name it. It is also a time for extreme heat in some places. How do you keep cool during those summer heat waves? While outside, you can always jump in the pool to cool off, but when you are inside, this is when your central air conditioning becomes your best friend! The key however is to know how to utilize your AC in order to maximize the indoor temperature while maintaining the utmost efficiency as far as your HVAC system goes.

One question we get asked quite often is “what temperature should I set my central air conditioning at during the summer months?” If you’re unsure, no worries, you are not alone. We talked to our experienced technicians and asked them their thoughts about temperature and recommended thermostat settings. Their insights can definitely prove useful for homeowners confused about how to maintain the perfect interior temperature even in the extreme heat of summer.

A Few Tips: Thermostat Setting Do’s and Don’ts

So what is the optimal temperature setting during the summer? Our experts weighed in and offered their professional opinions regarding how to get the most from your central air conditioning. Not to mention, their advice will help your system last longer and produce more efficient results.

  1. The temperature settings will vary according to whether or not you’re at home. Optimally, while you’re at home, the recommended thermostat setting is 78 degrees. For some, this may seem fairly high, and fairly hot. In a minute, we’ll get to a few of the things you can do to help keep the house comfortable. Just know, that the US Department of Energy does in fact recommend 78 degrees while you are in your house. This temperature represents that ideal balance between keeping the house comfortable and ensuring that your summer energy bills don’t skyrocket out of control. When you are away for a prolonged period of time, it is recommended that you increase the thermostat setting to 88 degrees. This just makes sense…obviously, when people are away be it for vacation or a work trip, for example, they don’t need the home to be temperate. There are thermostats that will allow you to signal to your HVAC system to revert back to a lower temperature prior to your return so that you are not walking into a stuffy and hot house.
  2. Every degree above 72 can add up to a 3% energy bill savings. Again, per the US Dept. of Energy, the lower the central air conditioning is set, the higher your monthly bill. Just makes sense, right? Did you know though that each degree you set the thermostat above 72 could potentially save you up to three percent off of your energy bill? This is significant for many families. So, if jumping to 78 degrees is a bit too warm for you, try raising the temperature slowly a degree or two at a time until you acclimate. You may not be able to get comfortable at 78, and that is OK, but remember anything above 72 will be to your financial benefit.
  3. Ceiling fans can aid your central air conditioning system. A ceiling fan is actually designed to spin in both directions – counterclockwise and clockwise. During the summer, it is important that you switch the direction and make sure it is set to counterclockwise. While certainly, a ceiling fan is not exactly a central air conditioning system, it definitely helps your AC unit along. That is to say, by turning your ceiling fan on in a counterclockwise direction helps to push the cooler air down and thereby lends itself to a more comfortable indoor temperature.
  4. Don’t neglect the humidity factor. Just think about outdoor temperatures…On an 85-degree day, if the humidity is on the higher side, it can feel a great deal warmer than 85; not to mention, it can get pretty uncomfortable when there is an extreme amount of humidity in the air. The same can be said for the indoor temperature of your home during the summer. If your house tends to be on the more humid side, during the summertime this can actually exacerbate what is already an uncomfortable situation. You turn that central AC on, and you still have a hard time getting comfortable. The humidity probably has something to do with it. Investing in a whole-home dehumidifier could have a noticeable impact, and help to keep your family cooler!
  5. There are actually a few simple things you can do to keep your house cooler in the summer. Of course, the central air conditioning unit is going to be doing the heavy lifting where climatizing the house is concerned. But it is important that you don’t overlook the smaller steps and things you can do to make it even more comfortable indoors, even during the dog days of August. Putting up quality shades and making sure they are closed during the day can definitely help to keep things more comfortable. By the same token, at nighttime, consider opening blinds/shades as well as windows to bring in some of that cooler night air. You might also check the weatherstripping on doors and windows. Weatherstripping isn’t just for blocking out the cold air; it is also incredibly useful for keeping the hot summer air out as well.

One thing all of our experts recommend is the yearly maintenance of your HVAC system. Just as your car needs a regular tune-up, so does your central air conditioning unit. Annual maintenance helps to ensure that your system lasts longer and runs as efficiently as it should. Plus, if there are any issues, a skilled technician can address them before they become major, more costly issues. If you want to schedule a maintenance visit for your AC/Furnace, CALL US TODAY! Our technicians know what to look for and they always have our clients’ best interests at heart!

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