What is the right temperature for my air conditioner?

Published on
July 11, 2023

Being strategic about setting the temperature on your air conditioner can help you manage your energy usage during the hot season.

During certain times of the year, such as the summer, you may notice a significant increase in your electricity bill. This is because hotter weather leads to increased energy usage, especially for cooling purposes. One of the main contributors to your electricity bill is your air conditioner. However, there are ways to save money, and one of them involves adjusting the thermostat.

By considering a different temperature setting for your thermostat, you can better manage your expenses during the hot season. According to the US Department of Energy, a recommended temperature for cooling your home in the summer is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

78°F degrees may initially seem high, especially considering the humidity and heat in Bermuda. While this temperature suggestion is for the US, it can still be applied on the island. Keeping the temperature at 78°F helps maintain a comfortable indoor environment while minimizing the influx of heat. It is advisable to set this temperature when you're not at home, either by using a timer or a smart thermostat. When you return home and require a cooler temperature, you can adjust it within the range of 70°F to 78°F. This temperature range is considered standard.

Every consumer has different comfort preferences, so it's worth testing your thermostat to find the ideal setting for your home. You can start by setting it to 78°F degrees and gradually lower the temperature by one degree at a time, or you can begin with a lower temperature and gradually raise it. Alternatively, you can try setting the temperature 4° higher than your usual setting and observe how your body adjusts to the change. Increasing the temperature by a few degrees shouldn't cause noticeable discomfort, and you might find the space still comfortable.

Many consumers mistakenly believe that setting their air conditioner to very low temperatures will cool their homes faster. However, this is not the case. Experts explain that an air conditioner can only cool the home about 15° to 20° cooler than the outside temperature. So, if you set your AC very low, it will work tirelessly to reach that temperature but might not actually achieve it. It's important to avoid having the AC running continuously, even on extremely hot days, as the system will consume more energy and work harder due to the external heat.

Using a programmable or smart thermostat can be helpful in setting the ideal temperature and saving energy. These devices allow you to pre-set temperatures, schedule on/off times, and create customized schedules for different times of the day. A smart thermostat can also automatically adjust the temperature when no one is home, maintaining a comfortable level while conserving energy and ensuring a cool environment when you return. In contrast, a manual thermostat requires more effort as you'll need to physically make adjustments yourself.

In practice, the amount of energy savings depends on how you use your air conditioner and your current energy consumption. It's advisable to be aware of the outside temperature and understand your AC's cooling capabilities to help save money. Increasing the temperature on your thermostat can be an effective way to reduce energy consumption. This simple adjustment can help you strike a balance between comfort and affordability during the summer.