What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in the Summer?

What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in the Summer?

Save Money and Stay Cool by Following These Recommended Summer Settings

In the winter, you long for high temperatures and sunny afternoons. Fast-forward a few months later, though, and you're huddled indoors, blasting the air conditioner trying to escape the summer heat. It doesn't take long for your utility bills to skyrocket, leaving you wondering whether it's better to just stay sweaty and learn how to cope with the uncomfortable weather.

Good news! By following these recommendations, you don't have to stop cooling your home completely, which means you can keep your house comfortable and utility costs down.

The Best Temperature Settings When You're at Home

To stay comfortable and save money this summer, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees F (26 degrees C) when you are home. Setting your air conditioner to this level will allow you to stay cool and avoid an unusually high electricity bill. If you still find yourself looking for relief, you can invest in a dehumidifier and follow our tips to trap cool air in your home, which are provided below.

The Best Temperature Settings When You're Away

Keeping your house warmer while you are away can help you save even more money this summer. Turning your thermostat up seven to 10 degrees F (2-3 degrees C) higher while you are away at work (or any time you're out of the house for more than two hours at a time) can help you save as much as 10 percent on cooling costs. So, to save money and energy while you're away, set your thermostat to 88 degrees F (31 degrees C). With a programmable thermostat, you can have your thermostat return to 78 degrees before you arrive home to prevent discomfort.

The Importance of a Programmable Thermostat

Even with those temperature recommendations, you should understand the benefits of using a programmable thermostat to control cooling in your home.

With a standard thermostat, you have to remember to manually change the temperature every time you leave the house. Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures throughout the day, based on factors like the time of day, when you're home, and when the house is empty.

A programmable or smart thermostat allows you to set various temperatures throughout the week and then forget about it. It also allows you to begin cooling your home an hour or 30 minutes before you return, ensuring your interior is at a comfortable temperature when you step inside. Smart thermostats are also beneficial, as you can control the temperature apart of the programmed settings via your smartphone or tablet.

Tips to Maximize Cooling Efforts in Your Home

Seventy-eight degrees F (26 C) might seem high, but you can make your air conditioner more effective by preventing warm air from getting into your home and cool air from escaping. Follow these simple tips to keep your home cool and comfortable.

  • Hang up window treatments that block sunlight and prevent heat from entering through your windows.
  • Install fresh or replace old weatherstripping and caulk around doors and windows to keep your home sealed.
  • Limit use of appliances that generate heat, like the oven and stove, until after 8pm. In the summer, try to grill outside as much as possible.
  • Install ceiling fans to increase cooling efficiency.
  • Replace cooling units with energy-efficient models.

Have you followed our recommended thermostat settings and other energy savings tips but still see an abnormally high bill? Read our guide on why your electricity bill may increase in the summer.

Staying comfortable while keeping utility costs reasonable in the summer is tricky, but it's not impossible. Sign up for an electricity plan with Direct Energy and you'll get the tools you need to track your usage and stay energy efficient.

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