Blasting the AC may sound like the perfect escape on sweltering summer days. But frigid interior temperatures actually compound discomfort and send energy costs soaring. Finding the sweet spot balancing both comfort and efficiency takes some thermostat tweaking. Read on to learn ideal set points maximizing summer cooling power without the outrageous electric bills.
Understanding Recommended Temperature Ranges
Industry experts and energy organizations generally agree on suggested thermostat set points for efficient home cooling. Anywhere from 68°F to 78°F makes for comfortable yet cost effective settings depending on whom you ask. Wider ranging guidelines peg things from 65°F to 82°F.
Why such variance in expert opinions? Several factors impact ideal temperatures based on lifestyle, health needs and efficiency targets. Personal comfort dictates thermostat settings more than any one-size-fits all guidance. But sticking to a range between 68°F and 75°F works well for most healthy households in terms of comfort and cost.
Pushing AC below 68° starts feeling uncomfortably brisk for many people. Letting indoor temps exceed 75°F loses cooling power noticeably except on the mildest summer days. Extended periods either too hot or cold also impact health, concentration and even decision making!
But what feels refreshing to some drops others into hibernation mode. Cooling preferences present one of the widest comfort variations next to individual sleep needs. Everything from age, fitness level, weight and underlying health impact whether you run hot, cold or just right.
Determining Ideal Temps for You
Preexisting conditions like heart disease, diabetes or respiratory issues make heat more hazardous for some. But the elderly and very young children especially have a harder time regulating body temperature. This may necessitate keeping things cooler for health regardless of electricity costs.
Meanwhile fitness buffs, husky individuals and women battling hot flashes appreciate cooler set points. But those working from home or spending more time lounging around might find mid to upper 70s still pleasant. Outfit home office spaces cooler while allowing unused bedrooms to coast warmer.
Just as humidity intensifies heat, having central air that can’t reduce moisture makes indoor conditions feel torrid regardless of thermostat readings. If your AC struggles dehumidifying properly, lower set points become necessary. Smart internet connected thermostats automatically adjust for humidity making it easier to optimize for both efficiency and real feel.
Programming Set Points for Savings
Manually nudging the thermostat all summer defies consistent savings or comfort. Instead invest in programmable or learning “smart” thermostats automating temperature adjustments for you. Most connect to home WI-FI networks and apps allowing remote adjustments anytime too.
Programmable units feature customizable schedules lowering AC usage automatically when occupants sleep or leave. Some learning models even analyze household activity and make their own adjustments maximizing comfort and efficiency the more they run.
Either type allows easy but impactful measures like bumping temps up 5° while away or lowering at night. You return home to cooled comfort without all day electricity waste. And sleeping cooler improves rest for those needing it while avoiding unnecessary midnight AC strain.
Prepping HVAC Equipment for Peak Performance
Of course all this thermostat tweaking aims to optimize output from heating and cooling equipment working properly. Like any appliance, air conditioners perform best maintained well with a few accommodations.
Start by replacing air filters at least quarterly to promote adequate airflow. Schedule seasonal maintenance checks ensuring sufficient refrigerant levels and cleaning intake components. And allow several degrees higher set points if units struggle cooling 10+ years old. This prevents overtaxing elderly compressors to failure.
Also ensure vents run unobstructed beneath furniture and drapes. Close off unused rooms lacking any cooling necessity too. And set programmable thermostats to “away” when leaving home for added savings. Simple setup steps avoid equipment fatigue ensuring your system keeps up when outdoor temps soar.
Utilizing Supplemental Cooling Approaches
In addition to prepping HVAC equipment, reducing heat from other angles offsets intense summer swelter. Deploying window fans drives warmer indoor air out while ushering lighter breezes in. This supplements AC cooling minus the compressor wear.
And almost free window treatments make a big impact as well. Closing blackout drapes over sunlit windows halts solar heat streaming indoors. For added insulation hang thermal lined curtains to keep penetrating rays from even reaching glass.
Portable dehumidifiers also lend backup moisture reduction if central AC falls behind. Converting just a fraction of that mugginess into cooled air makes indoor conditions more bearable. The less humidity pressing down, the cooler ambient temperatures feel by comparison.
Finding Your Formula for Staying Cool
When summer sticks around a while, finding your ideal cooling formula keeps portable units humming and energy costs from skyrocketing. Programmable thermostats better automate the process, memorizing household activity and adjusting temperatures accordingly after initial setup.
But even with smart technology, expect some trial and error fine tuning the first year. Note which setpoints maintain comfort through the dog days without sending electric bills through the roof. Compare monthly costs as you tweak settings to determine the sweet spot balancing both in your home.
While health and regional humidity may necessitate lower readings, 68°F to 75°F works well for most households. Just don’t expect living room settings perfect for TV lounging to translate to bedrooms for quality sleep. Experiment with a few degrees between spaces to keep both comfort and efficiency in check.
With some thermostat training and a few supplemental tricks, your home stays crisp and comfortable all season without tapping your AC into overtime or leaving your checking account in the cold. Maintain equipment properly and make ample use of smart home technology taking the guesswork out of staying cool while keeping energy use under control. Follow these guidelines and both your budget and family stay perfectly comfortable when the mercury rises.