When the sweltering summer heat hits, everyone scrambles to the nearest thermostat to get the cold air flowing. But the right AC temperature isn’t just about staying comfortable. It’s also about energy efficiency and reducing your utility bills. So, what’s the magic number? The answer depends on your specific needs and the time of day. Explore the optimal AC temperatures when you’re at home, away and when you are sleeping.
The Best AC Temperature When You’re at Home
The recommended daytime, at-home temperature for your AC is 78 degrees. This number may seem surprisingly high, but the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says it balances comfort and energy efficiency. Here are some tips to help keep yourself cool at 78 degrees:
- Use fans: Whether it’s a ceiling fan or a desk fan, moving air makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler. Plus, fans cost pennies on the dollar to operate compared to your air conditioner.
- Dress lightly: What you wear significantly affects your comfort level. Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics helps you stay cool in the summer.
- Block out the sun: Sunlight streaming through the windows can heat a room significantly. To prevent your home from becoming a greenhouse, hang curtains or blinds to block out the sun, particularly during the peak afternoon hours.
- Stay hydrated: Water intake plays a big part in regulating your body temperature. Staying hydrated improves your body’s natural cooling processes.
- Cook smart: Cooking generates considerable heat, forcing your AC to work harder, so avoid using the oven or stove during the hot afternoon. Instead, use the microwave, prepare cold meals on hot days or grill outside until the weather cools off.
The Best AC Temperature While You’re Away
The DOE recommends setting the temperature back 7 to 10 degrees when you’re not home for eight hours, which can save up to 10 percent on your cooling costs. Installing a programmable thermostat is the easiest way to save without sacrificing comfort.
This upgrade allows you to automatically adjust the temperature at different times of the day or week based on your schedule, reducing your energy bills without sacrificing comfort. The trick is to use your programmable thermostat correctly. Here are some tips for harnessing its full power:
- Set it and forget it: Configure your thermostat to automatically set the temperature back about 30 minutes before you leave for work or school in the morning. Then, time the recovery period so a comfortable temperature resumes just as you walk in the door in the evening.
- Use the vacation setting: If you’re away from home for an extended period, use the “vacation” or “permanent” hold to maintain the “away” temperature for days at a time. This prevents excessive heat and humidity buildup without wasting energy on cooling an empty house.
- Make gradual adjustments: Your AC works most efficiently at steady speeds. Plus, a dramatic 10-degree drop won’t cool your home any faster. If you must, lower the temperature by a single degree and turn on a fan or remove a layer of clothing to help you feel more comfortable.
- Leverage smart capabilities: If you choose a smart thermostat, take advantage of its programming capability and advanced features. Some models can learn from your behaviors and adjust the temperature accordingly or be controlled remotely for superior comfort and convenience.
The Best AC Temperature When You’re Sleeping
When it’s time for bed, the DOE recommends setting the temperature 4 degrees higher than your usual setting. However, many people find it hard to sleep in a hot room. This makes finding the right sleep temperature a real challenge. Thankfully, you can use several strategies to beat the heat while you drift off to sleep:
- Sleep in lightweight pajamas and breathable bed sheets: Just like your daytime attire, your choice of sleepwear impacts how hot or cold you feel. Your bed sheets also affect your comfort level. In both cases, light and breathable cotton is the best choice.
- Run a fan: As it does during the day, a fan can provide a cool breeze in your bedroom at night, making sleep more comfortable.
- Open a window: If it cools off at night, take advantage of this by sleeping with the windows open.
- Take a warm shower before bed: It may sound counterintuitive, but a warm shower actually cools you down better than a cold shower. It works by increasing your blood circulation, bringing heat to the surface of your skin, where it radiates away more quickly.
Schedule AC Services this Summer in Canada
Balancing indoor comfort and energy efficiency can be tricky. Why spend all summer guessing at the right AC temperatures when Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you make the most of your system? Our reliable, cost-effective AC services in Canada are backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, so you can choose us with complete confidence. Call 866-397-3787 today to schedule the premium services you need with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.