What Is the Ideal Temperature for Home Air Conditioning in the Summer?

June 28, 2021
AC Summer Preparation in Deptford, NJ

There’s a lot of debate over what temperature to set your thermostat over the summer. The EPA suggests setting it to 78 degrees, but that may still be too hot, depending on your situation. Here are some things to consider when setting your thermostat to get the most from your system.

Understanding Cooling Capacity

Every air conditioner has a specific cooling capacity, measured in BTUs. What this tells you is the maximum amount of heat the system can transfer from inside your home or business to the air outside.

Part of the capacity of your system is how low the system can drive down the temperature. The heat transference happens because of the difference between the temperature of the evaporator coil and the air in the system. The cooler the air, the less this difference, and the less additional cooling takes place.

Part of the heat transfer is the temperature of the refrigerant compared to the air temperature outside. The hotter it is outside, the hotter the refrigerant must be to complete the transfer. However, the cooler the inside temperature, the lower the refrigerant temperature becomes, further reducing cooling capability.

When deciding how to set your thermostat, check the operational range of your system. This should tell you the outside operational range, which determines how much heat it can transfer outside.

What’s Your Cooling Goal?

As you think through your thermostat setting, consider your goals for cooling your space. Are you looking to get a little relief from the heat outside, or do you have a specific medical need?

If you are simply looking for some relief from the outside temperature, you may consider keeping your home a little warmer. Some experts suggest keeping about a 15- to 20-degree difference between the outside temperature and the air inside. When it gets into the mid to upper-80s, that still gives you a very comfortable temperature inside.

Consider System Strain

Another important consideration for how you set your temperature is the amount of strain you’re putting on the system. The colder you set the thermostat, the more strain you create to achieve that temperature.

This additional strain makes the components on your system wear out sooner, requiring repair or replacement. With enough strain, you may also reduce the overall service life of your entire system.

The length and frequency of cooling cycles cause most of the strain. The colder you ask the system to make the air, the longer the cycles become. The greater the difference between the air outside and the requested temperature inside, the more frequently the system must run.

The starting process is the most strenuous part of the run cycle. The more often it has to start, the greater the strain put on your system to get it going each time.

How Important is Cost?

Cost is another important aspect of choosing how to set your temperature over the summer. You can easily see exceptionally high utility bills trying to maintain a low temperature.

The Department of Energy’s suggestion of 78 degrees is for energy conservation. However, you may be able to keep your home cooler in the Deptford area because of not normally seeing extreme temperatures. The average high for July is 86 degrees, meaning you could easily keep your home around 75 degrees.

However, there are even more things you can do to help keep your energy costs down. For instance, keep your shades drawn during hours when the sun is shining directly on the window. Also, consider raising the temperature when you’re not home to enjoy it. Even an increase of 7 degrees will make a big difference.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Most people now have digital thermostats with a programmable feature. However, many of these features go unused, which means you are paying more to cool your home than needed.

These thermostats make it easy to raise the temperature while your home sits unoccupied. If you have animals at home, keep the temperature low enough to keep them safe. However, that is still likely higher than you would want it while you’re there.

Also, consider how you set your thermostat while you’re sleeping. Most evenings are relatively pleasant, so you could open some windows to help reduce the use of your AC.

JAMCO Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving residents and businesses around Deptford since 1986. Our team provides expert heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance and repair. Call to schedule your AC repair or new system consultation today.

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