The return of summer heat prompts most homeowners to turn down their thermostat. But before you crank the AC, learning to set your thermostat effectively can be a game changer for you and your utility bills.
In the summer, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you’re at home. At night or when you’re away, bump it up a few degrees. Turning up your thermostat by 7° to 10°F from its normal setting for 8 hours a day can save you about 10 percent a year on heating and cooling, according to the Energy Department.
It’s certainly tempting on a hot day, but setting your thermostat to a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner will not cool your home faster. In fact, the excessive cooling could result in a bigger bill.
Instead, you can manage your home’s temperature more effectively with a programmable or smart thermostat. With the ability to schedule temperature adjustments, you can avoid the discomfort of returning to a warm home and having to wait for the AC to kick in. Schedule your thermostat to return to a more comfortable temperature just before you wake up or return home.
Also, consider these tips for staying cool in the summer:
- Use ceiling fans. In the summer, run the fan counterclockwise. Make sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room.
- Swap your long pants and shirt for short sleeves and shorts.
- Drink a cool beverage. In fact, try to drink about four to eight glasses of fluids a day. Remember, drinking too much alcohol promotes dehydration.
- Avoid heat-producing tasks — baking or laundry, for example — until the night or early morning, when it’s cooler. Making meals in the microwave or grilling out prevents the kitchen and the rest of your house from heating up.
- Turn off and unplug appliances that can heat up your home (TV, computers, laptops, lights).