HVAC in the News: Should I really set my thermostat to 78 degrees?

Should I really set my thermostat to 78 degrees?

Recently, a number of news articles have highlighted a 2009 recommendation from ENERGY STAR on using programmable thermostat settings to save energy.

While 78 degrees was used as an example on the ENERGY STAR website, a recent statement by ENERGY STAR says, “In order to save energy, the ENERGY STAR website recommends owners of programmable thermostats increase the air conditioning temperature setting by 7 degrees F when homes are unoccupied and by 4 degrees F when occupants are asleep.”

Whether you start at 78 degrees or another temperature that suits your family, bringing the temperature setting up while your home is empty, or while you are sleeping, can save on your energy bills.

Here are a few ways to improve the function of your air conditioning system, which will allow you to set the temperature higher and still be comfortable:

  • Program your thermostat to meet your family’s schedule. Using a Wi-Fi smart thermostat gives you the ability to make adjustments from your phone quickly, from anywhere.
  • Clean any dirt or debris from your outdoor unit
  • Change your air filter. Clean filters can lower energy consumption 5-15%
  • Clean air vents and grilles to ensure they are open and free of dust

See more HVAC Maintenance Tips

If you are in the market for a new air conditioning system, consider the following:

  • Look for a system that offers an important feature called “capacity modulation.” This provides lower energy consumption, improved humidity control, better air quality, and a more comfortable living environment.
  • Ask about the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), a ratio of the amount of cooling produced (BTU) divided by the amount of electricity (watts) used. The higher the SEER, the greater the air conditioner’s efficiency.
  • Ask your contractor about maintenance agreements that can keep your system running in top shape and ensure the system is installed correctly to maximize efficiency. New smart maintenance solutions use sensors to let you know how your system is running.

Learn more about Reducing Your Energy Costs with These Energy-Saving Tips

Finally, just to ensure that Americans are clear about the government’s stand on home cooling temperatures, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a statement saying, “It is the position of DOE that Americans should set their thermostats to whatever temperature they choose.”

Sources:

ENERGY STAR programmable thermostats:
https://www.energystar.gov/products/heating_cooling/programmable_thermostats

DOE Statement on Energy Star Thermostat Report:
https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-statement-energy-star-thermostat-report

ENERGY STAR statement on thermostat settings:
https://fox43.com/2019/08/20/set-your-air-conditioning-to-78-degrees-during-the-day-82-degrees-at-night-federal-agencies-recommend/

CNN: A federal program says you should keep your home above 78 degrees:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/20/health/thermostat-recommendations-energy-star-trnd/index.html

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