Want a Lower Electric Bill this Summer? Keep it 78 Degrees or Above!
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This new recommendation will save you money if you can take the heat! 🔥
A lot of us noticed a big spike in our home energy spending during the Coronavirus pandemic. Still, a lower electric bill is one tried-and-true method of saving some extra cash. While it’s not exactly new news, the federal government has come forward with some 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 AC temperature should be 78 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. 😬
Needless to say, these suggestions felt the heat from readers who prefer to be in control of their AC temperature:
“Keeping the temperature as close as possible to the outside temperature in Las Vegas?! I don’t think so!” – Gary
“When the Federal Government 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.” – Doug
“We leave ours between 69°-71° in the summer and 72°-73° in the winter. There are many things I save money on, clothing from thrift stores, using coupons, etc. so if I have to spend a little more to stay cool or warm throughout the year I’m gonna do it.” – Laura
“I would love for whoever is making these ‘rules’ to come spend the summer in south Georgia next year. I’ll eat PB&J and ramen noodles every day – but I’m not going to be hot in my own house.” – Kristina
“Here in Florida, it’s such wet, humid air that if your AC doesn’t run enough, your home will be damp and it could create mold. I don’t think those recommendations would work for my climate.” – Kim
“I’m with y’all – I sleep at 68°-74°. I can handle a bit warmer during the day, but I don’t like to wake up sweating – my sleep is more valuable than saving a few bucks a month.” – Katrina
“I think 82° is too warm for sleeping. I would rather have it cooler at night and a little warmer in the day.” – Ana
So clearly, a lot of us are not too thrilled about these recommendations, even if it means a lower electric bill… but here’s the catch:
According to the Department of Energy, reducing the use of your AC saves you about 3% on your utility bill for each degree increase. Energy officials say that these savings could add up fast, on both a personal and a global scale. Air conditioners use about 5% of the electricity produced in the US every year, at a cost of over $29 billion.
Not to worry, if sleeping in an 82° room doesn’t sound dreamy, then Energy Star has other recommendations outside of the AC temperature to reduce utility costs and still stay cool.
Here are some other ways to reduce the heat in your home:
1. Use a ceiling fan for better air circulation.
A ceiling fan will allow you to raise your thermostat as much as four degrees without sacrificing comfort! And speaking of fans, you should always make sure to use the bathroom fan when showering or bathing.
“We use ceiling fans in rooms where we are sleeping, watching TV, or hanging out, and we all sleep with stationary fans blowing on us. Is it worth it? For us, it absolutely is!” – Brenda
2. Install a programmable thermostat to have more control over the temp.
This helps automatically optimize the AC temperature for each time of day, and many smartphone-compatible options let you control your home’s temperature from anywhere.
Hip Tip: If you’re thinking about buying a smart thermostat, be sure to check with your gas or electric provider first. Many power companies offer cash back rebates whenever you buy certain models of energy-saving thermostats!
3. Add more insulation to the house for a lower electric bill in summer and winter!
Adding more insulation to places like your attic, sealing cracks, large windows, or other areas that allow in the air will help keep the warm air out when you’re trying to keep things cool–and the cool air out when you’re trying to warm up in winter.
“We put in extra insulation in our attic to retain cold air in the summer and to prevent hot air from escaping in the winter to make our living space warmer.” – Betty
4. Cook outdoors more to avoid heating up the kitchen.
Using an outdoor grill or smoker to prepare food rather than heating up the oven or stove will keep heat out of the house. If you’re in the market to buy a new grill, Lina’s husband is obsessed with this one!
Hip Tip: Don’t have a grill? Check out these easy Crock-Pot recipes that we love as they’ll be sure to keep that hot oven off. However, if you must use the oven or stovetop, just be sure to use the kitchen range hood at all times.
5. Install insulated window coverings and keep the sun rays out and get a lower electric bill in summer.
To prevent the sun from heating your home, hang blackout curtains or some light-blocking shades. This will ultimately help cut down on cooling costs since your window treatments will be blocking the sun and heat from coming in.
“I also leave my blinds closed in summer and made heavy curtains out of thick fabric for my bedroom to keep the sun out better.” – Mary
6. Invest in a high-efficiency unit for better cooling power.
While it’s not the cheapest alternative, upgrading to a high-efficiency AC unit will cost less and work better at cooling down your home even when changing the AC temperature to a few degrees higher–and it’ll be worth it for an overall lower electric bill.
Hip Tip: Speaking of AC units, make sure you’re regularly cleaning and replacing your AC unit’s filters.
7. Sleep comfortably with some cooling bed sheets.
Having a lower electric bill shouldn’t mean skimping on sleep! If you prefer chillier temps at night, setting the thermostat to 82℉ probably feels like sleeping in a sauna. 🥵 Luckily, you can score some of our favorite cooling bedsheets to help keep you cool and comfy during the night.
Here’s what Collin had to say about her Cuddledown cooling bedsheets!
“I took my sister to a spa in Arizona for a girl’s getaway trip in January and the place we stayed at had the most amazing cooling bed sheets ever!!! We were both so obsessed because they were so cozy and soft, and we literally felt like we were sleeping in a crisp, yet luxurious cloud.
We asked the hotel where we could buy them and the brand, then I immediately hopped online to grab some. The prices were actually pretty reasonable compared to what I thought they’d be and they’re so worth it!” –Collin
And if you want to lower the temp even further, you can score 16% off this mattress cooling system from Target!
Bonus Tip: Just change your AC temperature by a couple of degrees for big savings and a lower electric bill all year!
If you’re struggling to comprehend how some people are living in such hot homes or you simply don’t live in a climate that allows for you to make these recommended changes, consider gradually raising the temperature by a degree or two to start.
Here’s what Emily on our team did with her heat over the last few months to combat the cold, rather than the heat. While it’s the opposite temperature application, it can make a similar difference in the warmer months, too:
“I’ve been trying to keep our heat down because our bill was astronomically high in March. After dropping the temperature from a consistent 68° down to 62°, we saved about $120 the next month.
We have an older heating unit and it felt significantly colder to us, but it really does make a difference in your bill! We’re going to shoot for a happy medium of 65º next month.” – Emily
Wanna save even more this summer? Check out how the team cut costs here!