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Your Air Conditioner Should Never Be Set Below 78 Degrees. Here’s Why…

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wall AC unit set at 78 degrees

This new recommendation will save you money if you can take the heat!

Just as many of us are cranking up the AC to ride out another heatwave, the federal government has come forward with new recommendations for air conditioning our homes in the summer.

Energy Star, a partnership between the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, now suggests that the coolest your air conditioner should ever be set is 78 degrees.

thermometer showing 106 degrees

For maximum efficiency and reduction of energy costs, Energy Star recommends keeping the inside temperature of your home as close to the outside temperature as you can comfortably do so. More specifically, the agency recommends keeping your air conditioner at 78℉ when you’re home in the summertime, 82℉ when you’re asleep, and 85℉ when you’re away.

exterior AC unit

According to the Department of Energy, reducing the use of your AC saves you about three percent on your utility bill for each degree increased. Energy officials say that these savings could add up fast, on both a personal and a global scale. Air conditioners use about five percent of the electricity produced in the US every year, at a cost of over $29 billion.

ceiling fan

Not sure if you’re ready to sleep in an 82° room? Energy Star recommends other changes you can make to reduce utility costs while helping to keep your home cool. They include:

What do you think of these new recommendations? Leave your best tips for saving on the cost of AC in the comments below!

Turning up the thermostat? Check out our team’s deodorant recommendations! 😅

Join The Discussion

Comments 190

  1. Lee

    We live in Southern OH. Our AC unit is installed to a switch the electric coop can control when there are high drain times for using the A/C. If they reach peak hours, they can turn it off for a while to quit cycling. We keep ours at 73-74. But, I do not have a clothes dryer, only use the washer at non peak energy times, do not use the oven (I use toaster/convection oven, or a skillet or microwave), and that saves a lot more than you would think. I also switch out the A/C filters every month or so. I don’t buy expensive filters since I do this, I think the range is 800 or 900.

  2. justme

    I’m in Arizona and I keep mine at 80 degrees in the summer. I have 2 AC units because it’s a two story and in the heat of the summer my energy bill is $380 a month! Insane I know but I keep the house dark and use my ceiling fans. Come winter when our temps are normal it goes down a lot. I know people who are willing to pay 400 or more a month to be cooler but not me.

  3. Bayousmalls

    I have set my thermostat at 78 in summer ever since I read a similar recommendation as a new bride over 25 years ago. At that time, my husband was in grad school, and I was the only one working. We live in the deep south where the humidity is oppressive and the heat index is often over 100 degrees. At night, I will lower the temp to about 76 because we prefer it a little cooler for sleep. I use blackout curtains and don’t use the oven during the summer, preferring to grill outside or use the crockpot, microwave, stove top, instapot, or a small toaster oven. We put in extra insulation in our attic to retain cold air in the summer and to prevent hot air from the attic from making our living space warmer. We use ceiling fans in rooms where we are sleeping, watching tv, or hanging out, and sleep with stationary fans blowing on us. Is it worth it? For us, it absolutely is! Because we have always “watched our pennies,” we have almost no debt, will retire early with no debt, have a second home with no mortgage on it, and are helping our kids with their post-secondary education so they won’t have student loans. It’s all what you prioritize in your life. Temporary sacrifices yield long-term gains!

  4. Baker's Wife

    When the Federal Govt wants to pay my electric bill, THEN they can make suggestions. Until then, I’ll keep my thermostat set where I want it.

    Less Government, More Fun

  5. DeeC

    I like what Tucker Carlson’s response was “you first”

  6. Digidutch

    Florida here, with solar panels on our roof. Temp in the house is 76 day and 74 at night and our bill is about $19 in Winter, $ 50 in Winter for a 3000sq foot home with pool. I think it is crazy so many people live in an area with all this sunshine and not have solar panels!

    • Digidutch

      $50 in Summer.

  7. lorie

    71-73 its my comfort level. I live in Upstate NY and I set my heat the same.. love sept /oct as generally don’t need either!

    • laura

      Same! We leave it at 69-71 in the summer and winter is 72-73… There are many things I save money on, clothing (thrift) use coupons. If I have to spend a little more to stay cool or warm im gonna do it haha.

  8. shop4mybabies

    i’m fat and hormonal and i’ll suffocate my husband with a pillow if i’m too cranky so I can’t have my bedroom that hot. we do not have a whole house AC just one in the bedroom window and it’s an ice box in there. just like my soul lol as my 15 year old tells me

    • Donia Hicks

      Love this!!!

  9. Casey

    Mine is usually set at 76. I’ll occasionally put it down to 74 to cool off a bit, then move it right back up. In the winter, we keep it super cool in the house…. 64 degrees while we are sleeping and 68 during the day. I’d rather use extra blankets than pay a super huge bill.

  10. Charlene

    More gov’t control BS!!!!

  11. Peaches

    I shut off the central HVAC 15 years ago and bought a window unit for the bedroom with a nice heater for the winters. I don’t find the rest of the house overly warm in the summer or overly cold in the winter but I like my bedroom temperature a bit more controlled. Living in central Alabama the summers can be brutal but the winters are pretty mild. I got on budget billing with the utility board and my power bill is $68 year round with the unit set at 70. I think I’ll stick with my comfort rather than the government’s recommendation.

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