Keep That Air Conditioner at 78 Degrees or Above?! Here’s Why…
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This new recommendation will save you money if you can take the heat! 🔥
With many of us home during the Coronavirus pandemic, you might be noticing a spike in your AC bill. 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 your air conditioner should ever be set is 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 thermostats:
“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…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 a 82° room doesn’t sound dreamy then Energy Star has other recommendations to reduce utility costs and still stay cool.
Here are some 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 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 your house.
Adding more insulation to places like your attic or sealing cracks on large windows or other areas that allow warm air to come in from the outside will help keep the warm air out when you’re trying to keep things cool.
“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.” – 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 crockpot 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.
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.
Hip Tip: Speaking of AC units, make sure you’re regularly cleaning and replacing your AC unit’s filters.
7. Take it one step further with a bed fan.
A bed fan will be a sure way to stay cool at night if you can’t bear the heat. Here’s what one of our readers said about hers:
“I have a bed fan and as someone who has to sleep with covers on but likes to stay cool, it’s perfect. It’s a slim fan unit that sits at the foot of your bed and you tuck your flat sheet around it so it blows the air under the sheet. Even with mine turned down pretty low, I get so cold partway through the night, I often just turn it off.
It’s not cheap by any means, but it would probably pay for itself after a year by saving you electricity costs by running your AC aggressively all night.” – Nicole
Bonus Tip: Just change your AC or heat by a couple of degrees for big savings!
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
Stop buying all of these things to save your household money.