During the summer months homeowners enjoy the cooling capabilities of their high-efficiency air conditioning unit. However, while the indoor temperatures are going down, the energy usage (and bills) tend to go up. Knowing the optimal temperature settings to use on a programmable thermostat enables homeowners to get the most out of their HVAC system during the summer and save money doing so.
Settings for When You're Home
During the summer, the warm and sometimes unbearably humid air can make homeowners feel uncomfortable. According to the Department of Energy, the ideal indoor temperature during the sweltering months is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Setting temperatures above that figure will mean even more energy savings. When it comes to programming a thermostat, homeowners should take advantage of the "at home" setting by scheduling their thermostat to turn on half an hour before they get home from work. The 30-minute time window enables their air conditioning unit to begin the cooling process before their arrival.
Settings for When You're Away
When homeowners are away, however, it is best to keep the home five degrees warmer than usual. In terms of pets and indoor plants, they can usually remain comfortable in temperatures as high as 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature settings higher than that will begin to negatively affect pets and plants. In addition, some electronic equipment can be damaged by exposure to intense heat. To set an optimal temperature while away, homeowners should schedule the "away" settings to 83 degrees. The "away" function should only be used if if the homeowner will be gone for a period of eight hours or more. These settings are the most favorable for maximum energy efficiency.
Settings for When You're Asleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleeping temperature should be anywhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason behind the temperature range is based on the body's natural dip in temperature while asleep. During the scorching summer months, however, setting the thermostat that low means a higher energy bill as well as the possibility of freezing the air conditioning unit. While anything above or below that temperature range can lead to sleep restlessness, setting your thermostat in the mid 70s can usually keep a person comfortably asleep while being mindful of energy use and your system's health.
Setting the Temperature Too Low
With the blazing hot heat beating down on homes, it is natural to want to overcompensate by setting the programmable thermostat to a lower setting than recommended. Doing so, however, can lead to freezing the air conditioning system. Be aware that setting your system's temperature lower than your target temperature will not make it cool faster. It will simply work harder and longer than necessary. Instead, homeowners should remember to use the settings listed above.
Some programmable thermostats can be controlled through a mobile app on a smart phone. The convenience of mobility enables homeowners to set their settings from anywhere with a wi-fi signal. Knowing the temperature at which to set the programmable thermostat, however, is the next step toward bigger energy savings.