The topic of adjusting thermostat settings for air conditioners has been debated for decades, and although experts can provide some scientific facts and guidelines, the specific temperatures for you and your family depend upon several factors. Some of these factors include humidity, ancillary cooling systems and personal preference. The right temperature, however, is not only about comfort but also about energy efficiency.
Humidity and Ceiling Fans
Humidity plays a large role in how cool you feel at any given temperature. The body’s cooling system depends upon the evaporation of moisture from your skin. When it is humid, you feel much hotter than when it is dry. This is why ceiling fans and floor fans can play important roles in adjusting your thermostat settings.
Fans create a nice, cooling breeze, but they do not actually lower the temperature in your home. When the breeze from a fan makes contact with your skin, you will feel anywhere from 5 degrees to 10 degrees cooler than you would without it. For maximum energy savings, turn on fans when you are home, but switch them off before you leave the house.
A Few Quick Rules
Energy Star recommends that AC thermostats be set to 78° F to start. You can then raise the temperature by one degree at a time until it is at the highest comfortable setting. When you have found the most comfortable temperature that you can tolerate, this will be your base setting while you are home.
When you are away from home, you can practice energy efficiency by turning the thermostat up by 7 degrees. This will actually save you more money than turning the air conditioner off altogether. If you keep a regular or semi-regular schedule, you can automate this process by installing a programmable thermostat.
To learn more about best practices for air conditioners or to schedule air conditioning maintenance, contact a qualified AC contractor today. If you live in the Chicagoland area, Northwest Indiana or Southwest Michigan, Comfort24-7 can help you find a dependable HVAC company near you.