LOS ANGELES - To keep your home cool with central air conditioning while also optimizing energy efficiency (and therefore cost), keep the temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
The suggestion comes from Energy Star, a federal program managed jointly by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency that provides information to consumers about energy efficiency practices that not only save consumers money, but also improve air quality and protect the environment.
With record-breaking heat waves becoming the norm, finding ways to beat the heat without busting your budget might seem mystifying, which is why Energy Star provided consumers with a set of energy-saving recommendations on how to best manage central air conditioning in warmer spring and summer months.
According to Energy Star, keeping your central air thermostat set to 78 degrees is optimal for both cooling and energy efficiency, but this recommendation only applies to the times when you are home.
While you are away from the house during the day, you should keep the thermostat set to 85 degrees or higher.
While you sleep, Energy Star recommends keeping the temperature set at 82 degrees or higher.
For those who hate to sweat in summer months, keeping your home temperature set at a minimum of 78 degrees during the day and 82 degrees through the night might sound awful, but the benefits are significant.
For every degree you raise the set temperature of your central air, you’ll save about three percent on your utility bill, according to the Department of Energy.
On top of running air conditioning, Energy Star also recommends opening windows to fill the house with cool air at night and then shutting all windows and blinds in the morning to trap the cool air inside. Additionally, air sealing your home and installing window treatments can help prevent heat gain via your doors and windows during the day.
The Department of Energy also stresses keeping the heat coming from within your house to a minimum as well to keep efficiency high and costs low. Small adjustments like turning off appliances and lights when they aren’t being used, only washing full loads of laundry and dishes, taking shorter showers and running fans while you do things like shower and cook can also help reduce the heat build-up in your home.