Best Temperature for AC During Summer

Learn tips to achieve the perfect balance between energy savings and home comfort

Who enjoys sweltering in the summer heat? You want to be comfortable this summer without spending a lot of money on air conditioning? While maintenance tasks such as changing the air conditioner filter and hiring a professional to tune up the AC unit make a difference, something as simple as the temperature setting plays a huge part in how much you pay to air condition your home. Follow these tips to achieve the perfect balance between energy savings and home comfort.

Best Temperature for AC During Summer

Best AC Temperatures for Energy Savings & Home Comfort

AC temperature recommendations will differ depending on the time of day. While it might save money and energy to keep the AC at 85°F during the day when you are not home, such a warm climate might not be ideal for sleeping. Since your brain ceases body temperature regulation during REM sleep, you want your room temperature to be cool and comfortable.

What Temperature Should I Set My AC in Summer During the Day to Save Money?

While you ultimately must decide what temperature you feel comfortable at, the US Department of Energy and Energy Star suggest that the best AC temperature is 78°F for summer days. When you're gone during the day, you have the potential to save even more if you set the temperature 7° to 10° higher. The DOE estimates that keeping your home at 85°F for eight hours a day during peak cooling times can save you 5% to 15% on your cooling bills.

Obviously, you won't want to sit at home for long periods of time in 85°F temperatures, which is why 78°F is ideal when you come back home from work. At this temperature, you can feel completely comfortable if you dress for the season and run the ceiling fan to create a wind chill effect. When air moves quickly over your skin, it makes you feel up to 4° cooler, meaning a 78°F room with a fan running feels as comfortable as a 74°F room with no airflow.

Best AC Temperature for Sleeping

Setting your thermostat at night during the summer is a bit trickier. If you can sleep soundly in a warm room, Energy Star recommends setting the temperature 4° higher than your daytime setting. However, many people prefer sleeping in a cool room, which may result in turning the thermostat down rather than up at night. The best temperature for sleeping is said to be between 60° and 67°F.

Opening the windows while you sleep is a good solution if you live in a cool climate. Then, closing the windows in the morning before it gets hot traps cool air inside and gives your air conditioner a head start.

Average Air Conditioning Temperature

Average air conditioning temperature depends on a variety of factors, including geographic location, comfort levels, season, and cost of energy. Anywhere between 72° to 78°F is typically standard. A study in Texas revealed that the model temperature during summer months was between 70° and 75°F. The same was true for the winter months. However, this could differ based on energy costs in the region.

Setting your AC with a Programmable Thermostat and Zoning

To prevent arriving at a hot house when you get off work, install a programmable thermostat and set it correctly. An automatic setback when you leave each morning prevents you from forgetting to turn the temperature up, and automatic recovery 30 minutes before you arrive home allows you to enjoy energy savings without sacrificing comfort. Zoning is also useful for keeping the bedrooms in your home cool at night without cooling the entire house. With zoning, you control the temperature in individual areas of your home with multiple thermostats. When you zone the bedrooms separately from the living area, you ensure you stay cool and comfortable while keeping your energy bills low. Thermostat settings aren't the only things that need attention when preparing your air conditioner for summer, now is also the time to replace the AC filter for more efficient air conditioning.

Looking for new ways to save money during the summer? Our summer saving tips will get you through the sweltering heat comfortably and affordably!