You shouldn’t be forced to compromise on comfort or drain your wallet to keep your house at a refreshing temperature during the summer.

But what is the right temperature, exactly? We discuss ideas from energy pros so you can choose the best temp for your residence.

Here’s what we recommend 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 provides ideal comfort. However, if there’s a huge difference between your interior and outside warmth, your AC 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 sounds warm, there are methods you can keep your home cool without having the air conditioning going all the time.

Keeping windows and blinds shut during the day keeps cold air where it should be—inside. Some window solutions, including honeycomb shades or plantation shutters, are designed to deliver added insulation and improved energy conservation.

If you have ceiling fans in your home, the DOE says you can move thermostat temps about 4 degrees warmer without compromising comfort. That’s because they cool through a windchill effect. As they cool people, not spaces, turn them off when you move from a room.

If 78 degrees still appears too hot on the surface, try running a trial for approximately a week. Start by upping your temperature to 78 degrees while you’re home. Then, gradually lower it while using the advice above. You may be shocked at how comfortable you feel at a warmer temperature setting.

While away: 88 degrees. There’s no reason to keep the AC going all day while your home is empty. Switching the temperature 7–10 degrees higher can save you as much as 5–15% on your AC bills, according to the DOE.

When you come home, don’t be tempted to put your thermostat below 78 to cool your house faster. This isn’t effective and often leads to a higher cooling bill.

A programmable thermostat is a good way to keep your settings under control, but you need to set programs. If you don’t utilize programs, you run the risk of forgetting to raise the set temperature when you go.

If you’re looking for a hassle-free solution, consider getting a smart thermostat. This thermostat connects with your phone, so it knows when you’re at your residence and when you’re away. Then it automatically adjusts temperature settings for the biggest savings. How much exactly? Usually $180 annually on heating and cooling, according to ENERGY STAR.

Another perk of getting a smart thermostat? You can use your phone to keep an eye on and regulate temperature settings from almost anywhere.

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

We suggest using a comparable test over a week, setting your thermostat higher and slowly turning it down to find the ideal setting for your family. On cool nights, you might learn keeping windows open at night and relying on a ceiling fan is a better idea than using the AC.

More Methods to Save Energy During Hot Weather

There are other methods you can conserve money on energy bills throughout hot weather.

  1. Install an energy-efficient air conditioning system. Central air conditioners only last about 12–15 years and lose efficiency as they become older. An updated air conditioner can keep your house cooler while keeping utility bills low.
  2. Book yearly air conditioner service. Regular air conditioner maintenance keeps your unit running like it should and might help it run more efficiently. It may also help prolong its life expectancy, since it allows technicians to pinpoint small problems before they lead to a major meltdown.
  3. Switch air filters frequently. Follow manufacturer instructions for switching your air filter. A dirty filter can lead to your system short cycling, or switch on and off too much, and raise your utility.
  4. Check attic insulation levels. Nearly 90% of residences in the United States don’t have adequate insulation, according to the Insulation Institute. Most southern climates need 13–14” of attic insulation, while northern climates need 16–18”.
  5. Have your ductwork checked. Ductwork that has separated over time can leak cold air into your attic, walls or crawl space. This can lead to major comfort problems in your home, like hot and cold spots.
  6. Seal cracks, doors and windows. Keep hot air where it belongs by sealing openings. You can also caulk or weather strip doors to seal more conditioned air inside.

Conserve More Energy During Hot Weather with Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

If you need to save more energy during warm weather, our Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling experts can help. Reach us at 804-302-6657 or contact us online for additional information about our energy-saving cooling options.