Finding the best temperature for your thermostat during summer can be tricky. Humans are warm-blooded mammals who can’t adjust to high temperatures as easily as cold-blooded reptiles. While your pet lizard might happily climb onto a sunny spot in 90-degree weather, you’ll probably head for the thermostat to cool the house down.
While a ceiling fan is an efficient way to keep cool (using between 10 and 120 watts), there are some hot, humid days in the depths of summer that call for a little more cooling power.
However, an air conditioner uses between 750 and 1500 watts on average. Keeping the house cool with an air conditioner can add up quickly on your electric bill.
There can be a happy medium to keep yourself and your warm-blooded housemates comfortable without making you uncomfortable with your utility budget.
Best Temperature to Set Thermostat in Summer
78 degrees F during summer is a good temperature, according to a U.S. Department of Energy recommendation. This is when you’re home. When you go to work or away on vacation, you can adjust that temperature to around 85 degrees F.
Turning your thermostat up by 7 to 10 degrees when you’re away from home in the summer can save you 10% on your energy bills per year.1
What about turning the air off completely when you head out for the day? Maybe you’ve developed a good habit of hitting the light switch when you leave a room and turning off any other unused electronics around the house. If so, good for you!
Though this is ideal with most electronics and appliances, it’s not recommended to turn off the AC completely when you leave. Here’s why:
- Your air conditioner doesn’t simply cool your home, it also dehumidifies it. Switching off the air completely in muggy summer months might let humidity build up inside while you’re gone. This can lead to mold growth and costly home repairs down the road.
- It’s more comfortable to come home to a house that’s kept at least moderately cool throughout the day, instead of a stuffy one. It doesn’t take much for your air conditioner to adjust to a cooler temperature while you cook dinner or do homework with the kids.
- You reduce the daily workload of the HVAC system to manage the difference between the outside air and the inside air by keeping it at a moderate temperature throughout the day.
Think of it as a smaller distance between where the air temperature is and where you’d like it to be, so it’s less effort and strain on the AC unit. This saves energy on a daily basis and saves you money.2
Other Ways to Keep Temperatures Cool at Home in Summer
Run or install a ceiling fan to supplement your AC use. Bring the temperature down within a reasonable range using the higher wattage AC, and then, if you still feel a little warm, you can use the lower wattage ceiling fan to move the air around and cool your skin.
This is a great strategy for maximum cooling with minimal energy usage.
In fact, you can set your thermostat about 4 degrees warmer without noticing a difference in temperature, thanks to a fan.3
But unlike the AC, you do want to remember to hit the off switch on your way out of the room. Running a ceiling fan when there’s no one there to benefit from the circulating air is a waste of energy.
Another great way to save on energy expenses and still stay cool is to invest in a smart thermostat, such as the Vivint Element. These smart home systems have programmable settings that make temperature management easier.
They even learn from your behavior and automatically adjust the temperature depending on whether you’re home, at work, or sleeping.
You can also control settings remotely if you’re away from home and want to make sure everything is perfect on the homefront (wanting to be in control isn't always a bad thing).
Smart thermostats are a great way to be sure you’re not missing any opportunities to save on energy expenses.
Saving on Summer Energy Bills with Solar
Of course, our favorite way to save money on air conditioning costs during the heat of summer is to have solar installed. With the extra sunshine pumping kilowatt hours into your solar panels, you can save big on your utility bill.
Read this article to learn more about kilowatt hours and how solar with Vivint can save you money.