We all know how important it is to do our part in saving energy. Plus, being environmentally aware saves you money in the end.
Hot weather has already hit many parts of the U.S., and the rest of the country will follow shortly. When it comes to cooling in the summer months, do you know the best temperature for your AC?
When the temps climb into the high 90s or even into triple digits, you might be tempted to set your AC to "icebox" temperatures. While a cool house is luxurious, it can be seriously wasteful.
Energy.gov says that you can save 10 percent on annual cooling costs just by turning your thermostat up seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day — that equals about $83 of savings on average annually. When you consider that the average U.S. household is paying $280 annually, that's a huge savings.
It's 78 degrees.
Why? It's the most efficient temperature you can set for your home while not allowing the home to get unbearably warm.
You might ask yourself, why not a lower temperature? While it might seem like setting your home thermostat very low on a hot day is the right thing to do, it actually doesn't cool your home any faster.
Your AC unit will cool at a set rate, regardless of the temperature it's set to. Unfortunately, what often happens when the thermostat is set to a very low temperature is that the system continues to cool even if no one is in the home.
Setting your AC to 78 will do a lot in terms of saving you on energy costs, but there are other steps you can take.
One step you can take to improve the effectiveness of your cooling system is to make your home easier to cool.
Keeping your home at the best temperature for your AC and making your home easier to cool are just two steps you can take to save on cooling costs. Another popular, but often costly solution is to shield your home from the outside elements. How? By planting trees!
Your home is heated in the summer by the direct sunlight beating down on your roof and outside walls. This is why the insulation used in constructing your home is so important.
However, for further protection, trees surrounding your home will act as natural "insulation" and can reduce the temperature by as much as 6 degrees.
You might not even think about it, but when you crank your oven to 425 degrees, your home is being heated, as well. The same goes for the stovetop.
If you can avoid it, try to cook foods that don't require the oven or stove, especially during the hotter daytime hours. Summer dishes like salads and cold soups are great options, and for heartier meals, consider using a slow cooker as it puts off much less heat!
According to energy.gov, just by regularly changing your air conditioner filters, you can save between 5-10 percent on energy costs! That, in addition to maintaining AC coils, condensate drains and sealing any leaks between the inside and outside can make a real difference in the amount you pay for electricity each month.
If you don't think your filter has been changed in a while, make sure you submit a maintenance request with your property manager.
Keeping your home at the best temperature for your AC — 78 degrees — will allow you to stay comfortable without letting the system run unnecessarily long.
That, coupled with the remaining suggestions we listed, can help you stay cool all summer long without breaking the bank. It's good for the environment and for your wallet — it's a win-win.