What do you set your thermostat at in the summertime? The answer depends on where you live and what makes you feel comfortable. Thanks to modern day technology we can control the climate in our home no matter what it’s like outside, but it comes at a cost.
The electric bill can really add up over the course of the summer. Even though it’s only needed part of the year, air cooling is nearly 15% of the total annual energy use of a home.
If you’re looking for advice on how to stay comfortable and cool without burning the kilowatt hours this summer we’ve got it.
The Ideal Temperature for Saving Energy in the Summer
A lot of time and energy has gone into determining the ideal temperature during the summer. The magic number is 78 degrees. At 78 degrees your home is comfortably cool without being too far off from the temperature outdoors for the better part of the day.
The goal is to keep the house as close to the outside temperature as possible because it helps slow down heat flow. Of course, it also requires less energy when the temperature is higher. According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce overall energy use by 1% for every degree higher than 78 degrees as long as the temperature is elevated at least eight hours in the day. Bump it up 7-10 degrees and you could shave 10% off your electric bill.
Using a Programmable Thermostat to Keep Comfortable Without Wasting Energy
Your programmable thermostat is one of the best energy saving tools in your home. If you had to reset the thermostat every time you left for work or went to bed, chances are it wouldn’t happen. With a programmable thermostat, you can set it once and not worry about it again until fall.
Your thermostat will have pre-programmed settings that will be in place unless you adjust them. They are supposed to minimize energy use, but they don’t work for all families. To get the maximum benefit from your programmable thermostat:
- Create a custom schedule for each day based on your typical activities.
- Bump the temperature up higher when no one will be home for four or more hours. Somewhere between 85-88 degrees is ideal. Stretch the savings by setting the temperature to increase 20-30 minutes before you leave.
- Program the schedule so that the temperature drops back to 78 degrees half hour before you arrive home.
Consider increasing the temperature by a few degrees when you’re asleep and turn on overhead fans if you have them.
- Fight the urge to drop the temperature lower than normal in an attempt to cool things off faster. All it does is waste energy.
- Put the programmable thermostat is a spot that won’t be thrown off by environmental factors like direct sunlight, drafts from an open door, warm lamps or air flow from a vent.
The goal is to reduce air conditioning use as much as possible by finding times when the temperature can be increased without impacting comfort. If you’re unsure where to start you may want to get a smart thermostat. It can analyze your AC use to create energy efficient schedules.
The Fan Factor
What if we told you there was a way to increase the temperature by 3-4 degrees and not even notice the difference? You’ll still be using electricity, but a fan requires a lot less energy than the AC and the windchill effect can make things feel much cooler when you’re in the room. Just make sure to switch the fan off when you leave to room or you’ll waste energy.
Get more energy saving tips by signing up for a Provider Power electric plan. We have New England energy plans with competitive rates and helpful advice on how to reduce electricity use all year long!