The Best Temperature To Set My Thermostat In The Summer

Posted on June 26, 2018 by Mike Strayer

The Best Temperature to Set My Thermostat During The Summer

Summer is here—and with that, its scorching heat makes us want to turn up our air conditioning and avoid the outdoors. But doing so can put quite the strain on your energy bill. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. With all of the new energy-saving technology available today, you can enjoy your summer comfortably without suffering from an acute case of bill shock at the end of the month.

By following these recommendations, you can save enough on utility costs to go on that long-awaited summer vacation.

The Best Temperature Settings When You’re At Home

To survive the summer most efficiently, it is best practice to set your thermostat to 78º F (26º C). If you live in a place that reaches temperatures over 100º F or is oppressively humid, 78º F might seem like a ridiculous recommendation. However, if you’re still motivated to save, do what you can to get as close as possible to the recommended temperature. Remember: the closer you can get your thermostat temperature to the temperature outside, the more you’ll save in the long run.

If you’re coming home to a house that hasn’t been cooled all day, avoid setting your thermostat to a cooler temperature than normal when you turn it back on. Doing so can result in excessive cooling and end up costing you more. Instead, while you wait for the air conditioning to cool the house, turn on a fan to get quick relief, then switch it off after your home reaches its ideal temperature.

You can work your way up to the recommended temperature by increasing your thermostat by two degrees every day. Over time, your body will adjust and you will begin to feel more comfortable. It’s just like when you go swimming—at first the cold water is a shock, but eventually your body adjusts until you’re able to submerge yourself completely.

How to Acclimate Your Body to Hot Weather

When temperatures start to rise, you’ll notice that it’s much harder at the beginning of the summer to tolerate the heat than it is as the summer goes on. This is because your body steadily adjusts to the heat. During this time, it’s important to do what you can to stay comfortable while you get acclimated. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Gradually work up to it. Stay in the shade as possible and if you do any work outside, take frequent breaks to rehydrate. It usually takes a couple of hours a day of heat exposure for your body to realize it needs to start acclimating, so finding respite where you can is essential.
  • Reduce the layers. You lose about two-thirds of your body heat from the waist up. Try to wear clothes that breathe so it’s easier for your body to cool down on hot days.
  • Drink a lot of fluids.If you live in a place that isn’t as humid as others, you may not notice you’re dehydrated as easily. Your body adapts to heat by making you feel thirsty, but don’t depend on that sign alone. Keep track of your water intake throughout the day to be sure you’re giving your body the hydration it needs.
  • Work out. Because the fat in your body holds heat, staying in good physical shape means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to cool you down.

The Best Temperature to Set Your Thermostat While You’re Away

This same strategy should be used when you’re leaving for a long weekend or an extended vacation. A common misconception that many homeowners have is that your air conditioner works harder to cool the house if you turn it off or have it at a high temperature for long periods of time. But the small surge in output when you lower the temperature (or turn it back on) accounts for a lot less energy than leaving it on as normal. It’s actually much more efficient to adjust it regularly rather than constantly cooling a house with no people in it!

The Best Thermostat Temperature for Your Baby

In general, the average room temperature for babies should be no lower than 65ºF and no higher than 74ºF. Babies don’t regulate their body temperature well, and they don’t have the fat reserves to help them stay warm if it’s cool. Conversely, if you wrap them with bedding, a bonnet, or an warm head covering, thermal stress can occur. Be sure to keep fabrics light and breathable during the hot summer months. An overheated room can lead to an increase in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is also best practice to use a fan in your bedroom for your baby. By doing this you can decrease the risk of SIDS by 72%.

The Best Thermostat Temperature For Older Populations.

Air conditioning is essential if you’re a senior or have older family or friends in your home during the hot summer months. Most older people prefer a cooler room temperature range between 64 to 75º F, but this can vary depending on factors such as illnesses, disabilities, and mobility.

The Best Thermostat Temperature When You’re Pregnant

The hormones produced during pregnancy are always on the move, so it can affect how you feel throughout the day. Therefore, the recommended thermostat setting of 78ºF can feel both ideal or too hot depending how you’re feeling that day. There is no perfect temperature during pregnancy, so to optimize for comfort. A smart thermostat you can control from the comfort of the nearest smartphone is the perfect solution—especially as it gets more difficult to move around.

Additionally, night sweats occur in nearly 80% of pregnancies, making it difficult or nearly impossible for some to get a good night’s sleep. You may also wake up in the morning feeling chilled, so set a timer on your thermostat to shut off to avoid discomfort.

The Best Temperature For Your Pets

You want to be able to leave your pet at home for the day without worrying about their comfort and safety. Fortunately, they aren’t high maintenance when it comes to temperature settings. Pets can be comfortable in temperatures ranging from 64-78º F. Ask your vet if your have neonatal kittens or puppies at home as they can’t regulate their temperature well just like babies. You may need to supply a heat source for them to snuggle up to if your home runs cool.

The Best Temperature For Your Houseplants

If you own houseplants, you’ll notice that their temperature needs are not very different from ours. Most houseplants grow at their best between 60 to 75ºF (15-24ºC). Since most offices and homes are set to this range, you won’t have to do much adjusting just to keep your plants alive. Mist your plants regularly on warmer days, and be sure to water them well if you plan on leaving your home for days at a time.

Other Factors That Affect The Temperature Of Your Home

Outside of thermostat settings, many factors about your everyday lifestyle can affect the temperature and comfort of your home. You can reduce the amount of heat in your home by performing a quick audit of everything that produces heat and adjusting as appropriate.

How Appliances Affect The Temperature of Your Home

Just like electronics, appliances release heat your home when they’re on. You could crack a window, but it’s summer—you’d be letting heat right back in. Small shifts in your kitchen routines can help you save a lot of money.

  • Don’t use hot water if you just need a little. If you’re cooking and just need to rinse your hands quickly, turn the faucet to cold so your water heater doesn’t have to work to heat water that won’t reach the faucet.
  • Keep your burners and reflectors clean Doing so will reduce the heat produced your stove.
  • Switch to an electric kettle. If you need to boil water, using a covered kettle or pan will not only speed up the boiling process, but use less energy as well.
  • Use a toaster or microwave. These small appliances use a fraction of the energy as full-sized ovens. So if you’re bachelor or bachelorette, or if you just need to heat up a quick snack, you can easily reduce the energy and heat produced by large appliances.
  • Unplug appliances you aren’t using. Believe it or not, you can waste energy by keeping your appliances plugged in. Though it can make a little difference at first, small changes can add up and make a big difference in your home’s temperature and energy usage.

How Electronics Affect The Temperature of Your Home

If you have any teens (or adults who are kids at heart) that are gamers, you might have a lot of electronics running in your house at once. All these electronics produce a surprising amount of heat. You don’t have to take away the entertainment to reduce the production of heat, you just need to be smart about where you put them!

  • Avoid windows
    Placing your electronics near windows will only contribute to the heat they produce. Keep them in a cool place of the house so that the heat is minimalized.
  • Spread them outTry not to put all of your electronics in one place. The heat will only bounce off of each other and conduct higher temperatures. Best practice: use open shelves wherever you can.
  • Keep them clean. The fans inside your computers and other consoles keep them cool. Dirt, dust, hair, and other particles can build up inside and affect the effectiveness of the fan. Use a can of compressed air to blow the dust away from your electronics—especially near the vents.

General Tips To Optimize Cooling In Your Home

  • Invest in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are a great way to keep the sun from heating up your house. They will help keep your house cool while you’re gone so you don’t have to wait as long for it to cool down when you get home!
  • Change your sheets. You might be wondering, “What does that have to do with anything?” Well, switching from flannel or fleece sheets in the cooler months to cotton or linen sheets in the summer will allow your bed to breathe and stay cooler.
  • Switch to buckwheat pillows. If you’re someone who loves the cool side of the pillow, try switching to buckwheat pillows! Though they can be an investment at first, they last up to ten years and are an eco-friendly alternative to feather or synthetic pillows. Buckwheat pillows also allow increased airflow, which means you can turn up the temperature on your thermostat, stay cool, and save a little bit of cash in the long run.
  • Use A Dehumidifier To Keep Your Room Cool. Using a dehumidifier could be the key to comfort in your home if you live in a humid environment and can reduce the chances of mold and mildew growth. If you’re going to be gone for a long period of time during the day, just set a dehumidifier up in the middle of a room that you use a lot—preferably a bedroom. Turn off the dehumidifier when you’re sleeping or spending time in your room to keep the humidity level comfortable.
  • Keep your air conditioner well ventilated. Blocking your air conditioner with furniture will only make it work harder to cool your home. This can may cause humidity issues and refrigerant issues, which are harmful to your indoor air quality as well as your air conditioning system.

Optimize Your Comfort With A Programmable Thermostat

The future is now. With all the technology we have readily available to us, you’re able to hold the convenience of home comfort in the palm of your hands. Installing a programmable thermostat such as the ecobee will allow you to do just that! Many smart thermostats offer voice control through devices such as Amazon Alexa or the Apple Home Kit. You can also view your usage easily through an app, so you can control the temperature in specific rooms and schedule temperature adjustments whether you’re at home or on the go.

The Best Location In Your Home For Your Thermostat

When considering where to place your thermostat, think about which rooms you spend the most time in so you can optimize your comfort. The placement of your thermostat can affect the way it reads the temperature. Many energy and air conditioning experts suggest placing your thermostat on an interior wall. Keep it away from hallways, kitchens, direct sunlight, and air vents. Placing your thermostat correctly will prevent false readings and allow it to kick on and off when it’s actually needed.

This summer, don’t panic about how you’re going to manage to stay cool without breaking the bank. Instead, make small changes in your lifestyle and around the house to save on your bill while staying comfortable. Take advantage of the technology available to you and install a programmable thermostat that control is never farther than your phone. After making these changes, you begin to see a difference in your home comfort and in your budget.

References:

United State Department of Energy. Thermostats (n.d.)

Hubbard, J., M.D., M.P.H. (2016, June 01). How to Help Your Body Acclimate to the Summer Heat.

McGroarty, K. P. (2016, October 07). How to Use a Dehumidifier to Cool a Bedroom.

House Plants Expert. Indoor Plants Temperature Guide. (n.d.).

Institute for Advanced Study. 5 Tips To Keep Your Electronics Cool This Summer. (n.d.).

United States Department of Energy. Kitchen Appliances. (n.d.).