One thing I’ve learned from my many years in this business is that there are always new fads that come out and sweep through the HVAC industry, things like electric fireplaces, new types of insulation, or ideas about when the best and most efficient times are to run your furnace or your air conditioning unit. One thing that always stays the same, though, at least for everyone here in sunny California, is that it literally pays to know what the best temperature is to set a thermostat to in summer, especially the really hot and dry Sacramento summers when it seems like we’re running our AC units nonstop.
As I’m sure you well know, running your air conditioner like that costs money—quite a bit of it, in fact. So, it’s important to know the best temperature to set a thermostat to in summer to maximize energy efficiency. Figuring it out, though, is a bit more complicated than a simple Google search—even for a cooling expert like myself.
Simply put, there is actually a right way and a wrong way to use your thermostat during the hot summer months, especially if you want to keep your costs low and your HVAC system happy and healthy. Knowing how to set your thermostat just right can make a huge difference in both your wallet and your peace of mind.
What to Know About the Best Temperature to Set a Thermostat to in Summer
It’s really a smart move, both for your wallet and for the health of your air conditioner, to know the best temperature to set your thermostat to in summer. You, of course, don’t want to run your AC more than you have too, since energy rates in Northern California have been increasing as of late (and paying for cooling costs was never that inexpensive in the first place).
In other words, excessively running your AC all summer long is like putting a lot of miles on your car—and we all know how expensive that can be…
Another reason to be wary of using your AC too much is that your air conditioner is a bit like your car: the more you use it, the faster it will wear out. In other words, excessively running your AC all summer long is like putting a lot of miles on your car—and we all know how expensive that can be when it comes time to have repairs done on your motor. Running your AC a more moderate amount can go a long way toward extending the life of your unit.
How to Find the Best Temperature to Set a Thermostat to in Summer
Quite honestly, the best temperature to set a thermostat to in summer tends to vary from person to person. Studies about comfort, though, have shown that during the daytime (which is very hot during a Sacramento summer) most folks tend to prefer temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees. I always start these conversations by telling folks they should first set their temperature to 75, and then adjust either way depending on their comfort level—going a degree or two up if they think they can take that, or a degree or two down if they’re feeling intensely warm or uncomfortable. We are, after all, not advocating that you should sit around sweating in your own house!
In California, experts report that the cost per hour can range anywhere from $.14 up to $.24 cents.
Numbers vary by AC unit and by house, but experts estimate that the cost of running your AC can add anywhere from $19 to $46 to your utility bills per month. In California, experts report that the cost per hour can range anywhere from $.14 up to $.24 cents. That cost is, of course, directly proportional to how low you have the thermostat set. In other words, if you can pinpoint times to use your thermostat less, it will obviously decrease your bill.
The higher you can raise your thermostat, though, the better, at least if you’re the type who wants to save as much money as possible. There’s no shame in setting it lower, though. I’m personally a 74 degrees type of guy; any warmer than that, and I start to wonder why I even have an air conditioner at all.
How an AC Upgrade Can Help You Find the Best Summer Thermostat Setting
One definite way to ensure that you are setting your thermostat to the best possible temperature is to invest in something called a smart thermostat. I’ve talked in the past about whether or not smart thermostats are worth the money, but I think this is worth repeating.
The way a smart thermostat works is actually really simple: The IoT (or Internet of Things), as you may have heard, is taking over home management, connecting everything from water purification systems to remote monitoring of HVAC units. Here’s an easy way to think about this: remember the phone you had growing up? Compare that to the smartphone you have now, the one that does basically everything at the touch of a finger. Smart thermostats versus regular thermostats are similar.
A smart thermostat performs many of the same functions as a standard thermostat, but it’s connected to the internet as well so users can adjust its settings from other devices, like smartphones, tablets, or even watches. Smart thermostats also have some more advanced features, like collecting data and analytics on when and how long your HVAC system runs each day. This all adds up to a piece of tech that can basically tell you what temperature and times to run your HVAC.
If a smart thermostat thing sounds like a good move toward energy efficiency to you, I highly recommend calling a local HVAC expert, like the team at Bell Brothers, to help you explore your options. As Sacramento’s best choice for HVAC repair and installation, we’ve definitely installed more than a few systems in our day, and we’d love to help you invest in a smart thermostat. The difference it makes in managing your thermostat and AC use is a great way to save on costly utility bills, which we all know can get pretty high during the famously hot Sacramento summers!
At Bell Brothers, we’re proponents of the whole home approach to health and efficiency. Our trained HVAC professionals would be happy to inspect and replace or repair your ducts, as well as have a look at your windows and insulation to make sure they’re working efficiently as well. Contact us today to schedule your duct—or whole home—inspection.
Wondering how to finance a new furnace, or maybe even new windows and plumbing? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy JacobLund