You shouldn’t have to give up comfort or drain your wallet to keep your home at the right setting during hot days.

But what is the best temperature, exactly? We go over suggestions from energy specialists so you can find the best setting for your home.

Here’s what we suggest for the most energy-efficient setting for air conditioning in The Bay Area.

Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer

Most people find using the thermostat at 72-73 degrees is most comfortable. However, if there’s a sizeable difference between your interior and outdoor temperatures, your cooling costs 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 hot, there are ways you can keep your residence refreshing without having the air conditioner running frequently.

Keeping windows and curtains down during the day keeps cold air where it needs to be—within your home. Some window solutions, including honeycomb shades or plantation shutters, are designed to provide added insulation and better energy savings.

If you have ceiling fans in your residence, the DOE says you can raise thermostat temperatures about 4 degrees warmer without sacrificing comfort. That’s due to the fact they refresh through a windchill effect. Since they cool people, not areas, turn them off when you exit a room.

If 78 degrees still appears too uncomfortable on the surface, try doing an experiment for approximately a week. Begin by raising your thermostat to 78 degrees while you’re home. Then, progressively turn it down while adhering to the suggestions above. You might be astonished at how comfortable you feel at a hotter temperature setting.

While away: 88 degrees. There’s no reason to keep the AC on all day while your house is vacant. Switching the temp 7–10 degrees warmer can save you anywhere from 5–15% on your AC bills, according to the DOE.

When you come home, don’t be tempted to switch your thermostat colder than 78 to cool your home more rapidly. This isn’t effective and usually produces a higher electrical expense.

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

If you want a convenient fix, consider getting a smart thermostat. This thermostat works with with your phone, so it realizes when you’re at home and when you’re away. Then it intuitively changes temperature settings for maximum savings. How much exactly? An estimated $180 each year on heating and cooling, according to ENERGY STAR.

Another perk of installing 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 advises 82 degrees, that might be too uncomfortable for most families. Many people sleep better when their sleeping area is cold, so that’s why the National Sleep Foundation recommends 60–67 degrees. But that might be too cool, depending on your pajama and blanket preference.

We recommend trying a similar test over a week, setting your thermostat higher and gradually turning it down to pick the ideal setting for your residence. On cool nights, you could find keeping windows open at night and using a ceiling fan is a better idea than operating the air conditioning.

More Methods to Use Less Energy This Summer

There are additional approaches you can conserve money on cooling bills throughout hot weather.

  1. Buy an energy-efficient cooling system. Central air conditioners only are effective for about 12–15 years and lose efficiency as they age. An updated air conditioner can keep your residence cooler while keeping electrical expenses small.
  2. Book yearly air conditioner maintenance. Routine air conditioner maintenance keeps your equipment working smoothly and might help it work at better efficiency. It may also help extend its life cycle, since it enables pros to find seemingly insignificant problems before they create a major meltdown.
  3. Put in new air filters often. Read manufacturer instructions for switching your air filter. A clogged filter can lead to your system short cycling, or turn on and off too often, and raise your cooling.
  4. Check attic insulation levels. Almost 90% of residences in the U.S. don’t have enough insulation, according to the Insulation Institute. Many southern climates need 13–14” of attic insulation, while northern climates require 16–18”.
  5. Have your ductwork examined. 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 house, like hot and cold spots.
  6. Seal cracks, doors and windows. Keep muggy air in its place by closing openings. You can also caulk or weather strip doors to seal more conditioned air indoors.

Save More Energy During Warm Weather with Contra Costa Heating & AC

If you need to use less energy this summer, our Contra Costa Heating & AC specialists can help. Reach us at 510-343-9841 or contact us online for additional details about our energy-saving cooling products.