The U.S. Department of Energy set the rule. For maximum energy efficiency, and allegedly your optimal comfort, you should set your thermostat to 78 degrees during the summertime.
Did the suits in Washington think about just how hot and humid places like the Kansas City metro get during the summer months? Suggesting 78 degrees suggests they didn’t. And, what about the even hotter and more humid regions in the country? While we feel for them, the HVAC experts at Envirotech Heating & Cooling are focused on helping our customers in Shawnee, Kansas and across the KC area stay cool AND follow the 78-degree recommendation.
The math behind setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer: each degree set above 72 can save you up to 3% on your cooling costs.
If 78 degrees sounds ridiculously high to you, here are some ways you can keep comfortable without sweating a huge utility bill. Let’s start with the easiest.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
Using a ceiling fan helps keep utility costs down in summer because they use less energy compared to your air conditioner. A ceiling fan creates a wind-chill effect, making you feel cooler, but it doesn’t actually lower the room temperature.
On top of consuming less energy, ceiling fans improve air circulation, more efficiently distribute the cooled air you have and prevent stagnant pockets of hot air. Rather than cooling the entire house, a ceiling fan lets you feel cooler in the rooms you’re actually in.
- Turn off the fan when leaving the room to conserve energy
- Choose energy-efficient fans
- Perform proper installation and maintenance for optimal cost-savings
- Change the blade rotation to counterclockwise in summer
Don’t Bother Cranking the A/C Down When You’re Away
This applies to while you’re at work or away for the day or on vacation. Obviously, you don’t want to lower the A/C temperature when you’re away from home or even keep it to the same temperature as you do when you’re at home. Doing so wastes energy and increases your utility costs. Not to mention, excessive energy consumption isn’t environmentally friendly.
Cooling an empty house is inefficient and puts additional strain on your air conditioner, leading to more instances of repair and even replacing it earlier than necessary. Instead, set the thermostat at a slightly higher temperature or use a programmable thermostat you can adjust based on your schedule and lifestyle.
Why only a slightly higher temperature instead of say… 89 degrees? If there is too much of a difference between your home and away temperature, any energy saving you achieved at the higher temperature is lost when your A/C works overtime trying to cool down your home to your comfortable setting. It takes a lot of work on your air conditioner’s part to cool your home from 89 to 78 degrees compared to cooling it down from 80 to your preferred temperature.
Use Your Blinds or Curtains, But Hold Off Using Your Appliances
Unlike in the winter when the sun shining through your windows and using appliances is a smart way to help warm your home, they don’t do you any favors in the summer.
Keep window blinds and curtains closed, especially during the hottest part of the day, to help keep rooms cooler. Also, if possible, run washers, dryers, dishwashers and ovens at night or in the morning. These appliances generate heat, which heats up your rooms.
Finally, your parents were right. Shut the door! You don’t need to air condition the outdoors. J
Don’t Skip Annual A/C Maintenance Appointments
Regular maintenance ensures that your air conditioner operates efficiently, leading to energy savings and lower utility bills. Plus, it helps avoid the dreaded A/C breakdown on the hottest day of the summer.
During your A/C maintenance appointment, Envirotech Heating & Cooling’s technicians inspect and clean the various components, including filters, coils and ducts, ensuring optimal performance. Remember, annual A/C maintenance helps find and fix minor issues before they turn into major, expensive problems.
(You can put your annual A/C and furnace service on autopilot with our maintenance agreement.)
Consider Replacing Your Old Air Conditioner with a Higher Efficiency Model
You could set your thermostat to 65, but if your air conditioner is inefficient, it simply won’t cool your home the way it should (and could). Older, inefficient air conditioners are energy vampires because technology has improved greatly compared to models from 10 to 15 years ago.
If it’s time to replace your air conditioner with a high-efficiency model, look for the Energy Star® logo and a high SEER rating. This is an investment you really want our expert opinion on because it requires taking into account your budget, the size of your home, your lifestyle, your energy savings goals and updates to your existing ductwork and thermostat.
Yes, it’s important to save on your energy bill. It’s just as important to be comfortable during the summer. If a thermostat set at 78 degrees during the summer heat doesn’t feel cool enough for you, you can make gradual adjustments. Use your fan. Close the blinds. Start the dishwasher when you go to bed. Schedule routine maintenance. Invest in a high-efficiency air conditioner and retire your old one.
To learn more about keeping your home or business cool this summer while following the 78-degree rule, call us at 913-268-6700 or send us a message.