The Ideal Indoor Temperature To Set Your AC in Summer
What Temperature Should I Set My AC in Summer? Finding Your Ideal Range. The hot, humid days of summer are upon us. For many homeowners, blastingly cold air conditioning provides sweet relief from soaring temperatures. But frigid indoor temps can carry downsides like stressful equipment, sky-high energy bills, and even health risks. So what is the ideal thermostat setting for air conditioning during the dog days of summer?
Finding the right balance depends on many factors, including your climate, health needs, humidity levels and personal cold tolerance. With a few adjustments, you can keep your home feeling refreshingly cool this summer without overworking your HVAC system or receiving chilling AC bills. Let’s explore how to find your perfect summer AC setting.
The Standard Recommended AC Temperature Range
Experts typically recommend keeping your thermostat set between 78°F and 80°F for optimal efficiency and comfort during summer months. This indoor temperature range allows most people to feel adequately cooled off without requiring AC units to run excessively.
78°F to 80°F serves as a starting point for summer, with adjustments up or down depending on humidity, living space size, number of occupants and personal preferences. Here’s a look at common indoor temperature guidelines when cooling your home in summer:
- 78°F – 80°F: This range hits the sweet spot, providing pleasant cooling that keeps most people comfortable without overworking AC systems.
- 76°F – 77°F: Turning the thermostat down to 76° or 77°F enhances comfort on extremely hot or humid days when you need extra cooling power.
- 74°F – 75°F: Temperatures are getting quite brisk at this range. Use sparingly as needed since lowering into the mid-70s F frequently will rack up energy costs.
- 72°F – 73°F: Generally too cold for regular use in summer. These frigid temps put a lot of strain on AC equipment and your utility budget.
- Below 72°F: Prolonged temperatures in the 60s or below are excessive for indoor comfort and carry health risks if exposed for too long.
While 78° to 80°F serves as a wise starting point, humidity levels play a key role in determining your ideal temperature range. Let’s look at how moisture in the air impacts summertime AC needs.
Managing Humidity Is Key for Summer Comfort
Indoor humidity adds greatly to discomfort on hot, muggy summer days. According to the EPA, ideal indoor relative humidity should be maintained between 30% and 50% for optimal comfort and health. However, relative humidity inside homes frequently soars well above 50% and even up to 70% during humid summer months.
Higher humidity prevents sweat from evaporating as easily off your skin, depriving your body of its primary cooling mechanism. This magnifies the perceived temperature, making 80°F feel much hotter when the humidity is high.
Therefore, you may need to nudge your thermostat a bit lower in humid climates to maintain the same level of comfort that drier areas enjoy at 78°F to 80°F. If you don’t adequately address humidity along with temperature, you’ll likely end up continually dropping the thermostat lower and lower trying to find relief.
That’s why investing in a high-quality dehumidifier to supplement your AC is wise for humid parts of the country. The ideal indoor humidity range for summer is 30% to 50%. Use the following general AC temperature settings based on humidity levels:
- Humidity above 50%: 74°F to 78°F. Cooler temps compensate for mugginess. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
- Humidity 30% to 50%: 78°F to 80°F. This temperature range feels comfortable at proper humidity.
- Humidity below 30%: 78°F to 82°F. In very dry climates, you can edge temperature slightly higher and still feel adequately cooled.
Customizing Temperature by Room
While 78°F to 80°F makes a comfortable baseline for whole-home temperatures, certain rooms may benefit from slightly cooler or warmer settings customized to their use. Here are suggested thermostat ranges by room:
Living Spaces: 77°F – 80°F
Family rooms, living rooms and dens see the most foot traffic and should be kept in the upper end of the comfortable range to accommodate varied activities.
Bedrooms: 75°F – 78°F
You spend about a third of your time sleeping, so bedrooms warrant special temperature consideration. Maintaining bedroom temperatures at the cooler end of the summer range allows for deeper, more restful sleep.
Home Office: 76°F – 80°F
Home offices typically house heat-generating electronics. Keep this room’s temperature moderate but not too cold since you’ll likely sit for long periods.
Kitchen: 78°F – 80°F
Kitchens already heat up a lot from cooking and appliances. Prevent this busy room from becoming sweltering by maintaining ample AC.
Bathrooms: 75°F – 80°F
Bathrooms demand vigilance in humidity control to deter mold growth. Keep ample cooling and dehumidification running.
Customizing temperatures by room usage and individual comfort needs results in optimal comfort for each space. Top-of-the-line zoned, smart thermostats allow customized temperature control by room and even different parts of the home.
Other Tips for Staying Cool at 78°F – 80°F
Beyond setting the thermostat wisely, a few supplemental strategies can enhance comfort when keeping indoor temperatures around 78°F to 80°F:
- Run ceiling fans to promote airflow. The gentle wind chill makes higher thermostat settings feel crisper.
- Be strategic about windows. Block direct sunlight with closed blinds or curtains, but allow ambient light from other angles.
- Cook outside when possible. Use grills, smokers or outdoor kitchens to keep stove and oven heat out of the house.
- Take cooler showers and baths during summer. Bathing in tepid water makes higher air temperatures feel nicer when you get out.
- Sip chilled beverages like iced tea, lemonade or fruit-infused water. Internal coldness counterbalances heat.
- Dress in loose, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. They allow better ventilation against your skin.
- Add a whole-house dehumidifier or portable units for damp rooms like basements or bathrooms.
- Ensure AC filters are clean and ventilation ducts unobstructed. Proper airflow circulation enhances indoor comfort.
With the right thermostat settings and a few supplemental strategies, you can stay cool inside even when temperatures reach the upper 80s. Let’s look at why maintaining indoor temps of 78°F to 80°F also carries health advantages.
Health Benefits of Moderately Cool Temperatures
Beyond optimizing comfort, keeping your home’s indoor temperature between 78°F and 80°F also offers important health benefits:
- Helps prevent dangerous overheating – Excessively hot conditions put you at risk for heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke. Moderately cool indoor temps prevent these heat-induced maladies.
- Allows natural sweat-based cooling – Your body cools itself via sweat and heat radiating from your skin. Overly cold indoor air sabotages this innate temperature regulation.
- Can help deter mold risks – Warm, humid conditions trigger mold growth. But consistent AC settings between 78°F and 80°F help control indoor moisture and humidity.
- Reduces strain on cardiovascular system – Heat places excess stress on heart and blood vessels. More moderate temperatures lessen this cardiovascular burden.
- Promotes quality sleep – Cooler bedroom temps around 75°F encourage deeper, more restorative sleep compared to sweltering rooms.
While personal health factors like age, medications and chronic conditions affect your ideal temperature, in general 78°F to 80°F strikes a healthy balance for most people. Let’s look now at how this summertime range also promotes energy efficiency.
Savings: Cut Energy Costs By Raising Home’s Temperature Just A Few Degrees
Keeping your indoor temperature set to between 78°F and 80°F allows you to stay cool for less. According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce air conditioning costs by 8% to 10% for every degree higher you set the thermostat in summer.
Here’s a look at how different AC settings impact energy use and electricity costs:
- 72°F: Requires maximum AC runtime and energy use. Results in highest cooling bills.
- 75°F: Saves about 10% on energy use and AC costs vs keeping home at 72°F.
- 78°F: Cuts energy consumption and costs by around 20% compared to 72°F.
- 80°F: Saves approximately 25% on cooling bills compared to very cold 72°F setting.
- 83°F+: Progressively lower energy usage and AC costs as you let indoor temperatures rise.
As you can see, even just a few degrees of adjustment around the 78°F to 80°F range can yield substantial energy and cost savings versus keeping your home frigid. Programmable and smart thermostats make it easy to maintain these efficient temperatures.
Any reduction in AC overuse benefits the environment too. Most electricity continues to be generated from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. So dialing back your home’s energy appetite reduces associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Prepping Your AC Unit for Maximum Efficiency All Summer
Keeping your cooling system well-maintained ensures it can provide energy-efficient temperature regulation. Follow these air conditioner prep tips before summer:
- Check and change air filters monthly. Dirty filters reduce airflow.
- Clear away debris and plants around the outdoor AC unit. Allow ample air circulation.
- Have a technician perform a pre-season tune-up and inspection. Fix any issues promptly.
- Ensure refrigerant levels are adequately charged. Low coolant hampers cooling capacity.
- Inspect ducts for leaks allowing cooled air loss. Repair any gaps or disconnected ducts.
- Consider upgrading old AC units. New efficient models offer tighter temperature control.
With some preventative maintenance and the right thermostat strategy, you can stay comfortably cool while avoiding energy waste this summer.
Determine Your Ideal Temperature Range for Summer
Ultimately, your ideal thermostat setting depends on climate, humidity, health factors, living space and personal tolerance for heat versus chilliness. Most people will find 78°F to 80°F offers the best blend of refreshingly cool air without going overboard on AC usage.
Monitor your comfort over the course of each summer, making small thermostat adjustments as needed. Pay attention to humidity too, as moisture may necessitate slightly lower temps to maintain the same relative comfort.
With some trial and error, you can discover your own sweet spot that keeps your home brisk and comfortable during summer’s dog days without the downsides of bone-chilling cold. Stay cool and save energy by finding your ideal balance of pleasant AC without extremes!