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What is the Ideal Air Conditioner Temperature Setting for Summer?

July 12, 2022


The ideal temperature for your thermostat during the summer months has been a point of contention for a few years. As energy costs continue to increase, there are many varying opinions on the subject, with everyone weighing in on the matter from air conditioning manufacturers to the U.S. Department of Energy. The consensus from this wide-ranging group of experts is that your thermostat should be set between 72 degrees and 82 degrees during the summer. As you’ve probably figured out by now, there isn’t an ideal air conditioner setting that will work for everyone. It is highly variable and a matter of personal preference. Living in Alabama, we all know how hot a summer night can be. If you agree that the idea of coming home to a hot house after working all day is frustrating, but cooling an empty home is expensive and wasteful, you’re in the right place for answers.

Determining Your Ideal Thermostat Setting

Searching for the optimal temperature setting for your air conditioning system is a good idea. While there are many suggested settings, ultimately, the perfect thermostat setting for your AC system during the summer depends on the comfort level of those living in the home where it’s installed.

To determine the ideal setting for your thermostat during the summer months, start by answering these three important questions:

  • What is your primary concern, comfort or cost?
  • What is your preferred indoor temperature?
  • At what AC setting are you least comfortable during the summer?

The U.S. Department of Energy released an informative guide to summer air conditioning usage. The guide suggested that homeowners set their thermostats to 82 degrees if they’re using a ceiling fan and 78 degrees if they don’t have a fan. The government researched and tested these summer air conditioner settings, so if you need a cost-effective setting for your AC unit this summer, you’re set! These energy-efficient settings make clear that it’s possible to save money on your energy spending by sacrificing comfort.

For many people, this makes sense, but living and sleeping comfortably at these higher temperatures may be unrealistic for others. At the end of the day, we all just want to be comfortable without sending our electricity bills into the stratosphere. So, is there a way to have comfort and savings?

To What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat?

The key to finding the perfect temperature setting for your thermostat is trying several settings in different conditions. When you’re at home, in comfortable clothes, do you need to wear layers to feel comfortable inside your home? If yes, your setting is too low, and your home is too cold. Keep track of the setting and how you feel while relaxing in your home. Once you’ve collected enough data, you should be able to create an initial temperature range for your home. Test your temperature range by setting your thermostat one degree higher than your current comfortable temperature setting. Raise the temperature one degree every two to three hours until you’re uncomfortable. If you’re struggling for a starting point, use these general system settings and test for your comfort level.

When creating a comfort range, begin your test at:

  • 72° F during the night when you’re sleeping
  • 75° F during the day when you’re home
  • 80° F during the day if no one is home

After determining your range, you will need to take the temperature at the top of your range and deduct one degree – that temperature is your optimal thermostat setting during the summer. When you leave your home, this is the temperature setting to use during your away period. You should set your thermostat to the middle of your comfort range when at home. When the temperature outdoors is hotter than usual, setting your thermostat to the bottom of your comfort range can help save money. When the temperature outdoors gets high, it’s tempting to set your thermostat at a lower than needed temperatures; however, this won’t cool your home quicker, leading to longer run times and more energy usage.

Other Ways to Cool Down Your Home

If you’re looking for additional ways to lower your monthly energy bill, you should consider installing a programmable thermostat or adding fans to your home. Both tips can lead to serious energy savings. According to the US Department of Energy, installing a ceiling fan reduces the “real feel” in a room by four degrees. Fans create wind chill in areas where they are installed by causing sweat on the skin to evaporate quickly. The cool air that feels like it’s coming from a fan is actually rapid evaporation creating a cooling effect. Installing a smart thermostat can help you regulate your comfort zone and automate your settings.

Cool Off This Summer With Air Care Systems

Cooling off your home during the hot summer months can seem daunting but finding the perfect setting for your air conditioning system can help. If you can’t seem to cool your home off, your air conditioner may need servicing. At Air Care Systems, we offer 24-hour emergency services and same-day non-emergency service calls. Our family-owned and operated home services company is here to provide solutions to all your summer cooling needs.

At Air Care Systems, we have a saying: Our middle name is CARE for a reason. Give us a call at (256) 537-9987 to schedule an appointment today.