You shouldn’t need to sacrifice comfort or spend a lot to keep your house at a pleasant temperature during the summer.

But what is the right temp, exactly? We go over ideas from energy professionals so you can choose the best temp for your home.

Here’s what we suggest for the most energy-efficient setting for air conditioning in Greater Richmond.

Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer

Most people find setting the thermostat at 72-73 degrees is ideal. However, if there’s a big difference between your inside and outdoor warmth, your utility bills will be bigger.

These are our recommendations based on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and ENERGY STAR®.

While at home: 78 degrees. While that appears too high, there are methods you can keep your home cool without having the air conditioner going constantly.

Keeping windows and blinds closed during the day keeps cool air where it should be—indoors. Some window coverings, including honeycomb shades or plantation shutters, are created to deliver more insulation and enhanced energy efficiency.

If you have ceiling fans in your residence, the DOE says you can raise thermostat settings about 4 degrees higher without compromising comfort. That’s because they cool by a windchill effect. As they cool people, not areas, turn them off when you leave a room.

If 78 degrees still seems too hot at first glance, try running a trial for approximately a week. Begin by upping your setting to 78 degrees while you’re home. Then, progressively turn it down while adhering to the suggestions above. You could be amazed at how cool you feel at a warmer temperature setting.

While away: 88 degrees. There’s no reason to keep the air conditioning going all day while your home is unoccupied. Switching the temperature 7–10 degrees warmer can save you anywhere from 5–15% on your electrical costs, according to the DOE.

When you come home, don’t be tempted to put your thermostat under 78 to cool your house more quickly. This isn’t useful and usually leads to a more expensive cooling bill.

A programmable thermostat is a good approach to keep your temp controlled, but it requires setting programs. If you don’t set programs, you run the risk of forgetting to change the set temperature when you take off.

If you’re looking for a convenient remedy, think about getting a smart thermostat. This thermostat links with your phone, so it knows when you’re at your house and when you’re out. Then it instinctively adjusts temperature settings for the biggest savings. How much exactly? About $180 each year on heating and cooling, according to ENERGY STAR.

Another perk of getting a smart thermostat? You can use your phone to watch and change temperature settings from nearly anywhere.

While sleeping: Around 70 degrees. While ENERGY STAR suggests 82 degrees, that might be unpleasant for most families. Many people sleep better when their sleeping space is chilly, so that’s why the National Sleep Foundation advises 60–67 degrees. But that could be too cold, due to your clothing and blanket preference.

We suggest following an equivalent test over a week, moving your thermostat higher and steadily decreasing it to choose the ideal temperature for your house. On mild nights, you might learn keeping windows open at night and relying on a ceiling fan is a preferable idea than using the air conditioning.

More Ways to Conserve Energy During Hot Weather

There are extra approaches you can save money on cooling bills throughout hot weather.

  1. Get an energy-efficient air conditioning system. Central air conditioners only work for about 12–15 years and get less efficient as they age. An updated air conditioner can keep your house cooler while keeping electricity bills low.
  2. Set regular air conditioner service. Routine air conditioner maintenance keeps your equipment running properly and could help it run at greater efficiency. It could also help extend its life cycle, since it enables professionals to discover seemingly insignificant problems before they cause a major meltdown.
  3. Put in new air filters regularly. Use manufacturer instructions for replacing your air filter. A dusty filter can cause your system to short cycle, or turn on and off too frequently, and drive up your utility.
  4. Check attic insulation levels. Almost 90% of residences in the United States don’t have proper insulation, according to the Insulation Institute. Many southern climates require 13–14” of attic insulation, while northern climates need 16–18”.
  5. Have your ductwork inspected. Ductwork that has separated over time can leak conditioned air into your attic, walls or crawl space. This can lead to huge comfort troubles in your home, like hot and cold spots.
  6. Seal cracks, doors and windows. Keep muggy air in its place by sealing cracks. You can also caulk or weather strip doors to trap more cool air indoors.

Conserve More Energy This Summer with Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

If you need to use less energy during warm weather, our Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling professionals can help. Give us a call at 804-302-6657 or contact us online for additional information about our energy-saving cooling solutions.