It’s A Matter of Balancing Comfort, Cost, and Healthy Air Quality!
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) when you are home in the summer. For most people this temperature strikes the best balance between staying cool and keeping utility bills more manageable. However, the best setting for your central air depends on a variety of factors, and there is no “perfect” setting for everyone. Learn about these factors below so that you can make the best choice for your budget, and the comfort and health of you and your family.
Factors to Consider When Determining the Temperature of Your Thermostat
If everyone in your household is away from home during the hot summer days, why spend money to cool the house? You can save yourself some money on your utility bills if you make it a habit to turn your thermostat up seven to ten degrees higher when you are away from home for more than a few hours.
When your house warms up to a temperature closer to the warm air outside, less heat will flow into your home. It takes less energy to cool your house when you get home than the amount it would require to consistently keep it cool while you are away from home. For these reasons, this simple practice alone can help you save as much as 10 percent on cooling costs, as well as significantly reduce the wear and tear of your unit.
You can make this happen automatically by installing a programmable thermostat. If your schedule is fairly well established, you can program your thermostat to keep track of things for you (warming up when you leave home and cooling down when you return). You can even install a smart thermostat, which learns your schedule and temperature preferences and makes all the necessary adjustments for you.
Your Comfort Level
The most comfortable temperature setting for you and your family is another important consideration. Because humans are an adaptable species, it’s likely that you can increase the temperature of your home by a few degrees and still feel comfortable. This is a small price to pay for significantly lower utility bills. Again, it all depends on your preferences. Your goal should be to find the most comfortable temperature for you and your family without busting your budget.
Whether you have a dehumidifier
The old expression, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” is true. What makes your air conditioned home comfortable is not just the cooler temperature; it is the lower humidity that the air conditioning process brings about. By using a dehumidifier, you can keep your house cool while running your air conditioner less at a higher temperature.
If your budget does not accommodate a whole house dehumidifier, consider getting portable dehumidifier units installed throughout your home.
The air-quality of your home
Your central air conditioning system not only controls the temperature of the air in your home, it also keeps contaminants such as mold and mildew out of the air. As your air conditioner circulates air by pulling it through the return air ducts in each room of your home, which removes airborne particles such as dust, lint, pet dander, and allergens as it is pulled through the air filter. The system then routes the filtered air back into air supply ductwork carrying the air back to the rooms and effectively recycling it.
However, depending on the density, durability and age of your home’s air filters, your air conditioner may have to work harder than it should. This can affect how much it needs to work to achieve your desired in-house temperature, and, as a result, influence the temperature you set.
Fortunately, an HVAC technician can replace the air filters throughout your home at an affordable price. With modern, highly effective air purifying components, many of which can capture up to 99.6% of contaminants, new filters can reduce the amount of pollutants circulating through your system, reducing the strain on your AC unit. This allows you to maintain a higher (less costly) temperature while feeling cool all summer long.
Other Ways to Keep Cool
As an added bonus, here are a few other simple things you can do this summer to save money on cooling your home:
- Find ways to limit the hot sun from heating your house. You may need to hang sun blocking window treatments or place sun blocking film on the windows.
- Make sure your doors and windows are not letting hot air through gaps in the weather stripping or caulking. Replace it as needed.
- Avoid using your kitchen and laundry appliances during the daytime.
- Install ceiling fans and use them often. Allowing a fan to move the air across your skin can make you feel much cooler.
- Increase your thermostat temperature setting by one or two degrees every few days until you and your family settle on a comfortable level.
- For summer nights, make sure you change to lighter weight bedding and nightwear.
- If your air conditioner is old, consider replacing it. Modern units are significantly more energy efficient than units that are even a few years old, and can save you money in the long run.
Contact the HVAC Professionals at Presidential Heating and Air for More Information
We hope this insightful article helps you consider the significant factors that go into keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer months. For more information about the appropriate temperature for your home this summer or for assistance with any of the above tips, talk to the HVAC professionals at Presidential Heating and Air. We’re always eager to help our clients utilize creative solutions to keep comfortable and save money. Give us a call today to find out what we can do for your home!