When temperatures rise, most of us turn on our air conditioning, but what's the best temperature to set the thermostat for in the summer? How can Kansas City families save money while keeping homes cool? Let's review some guidelines and tips.
We'll cover some preventative measures you can take to conserve energy as well as answer the questions about what is the best temperature to set thermostats in summer when you're home and away.
The answer depends on what your priorities are. If comfort is your biggest goal, then the best temperature to set the thermostat in summer or any time of year is the one that makes your home comfortable. If energy savings is most important, the trick is to create as little difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures as possible while maintaining comfort. Therefore, for maximum savings and comfort, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees. This may seem warm, but there are lots of tactics to reduce the need for more air conditioning in your home. The very best number is the temperature that works best for you, your family, and your budget. Let's take a look at factors that can help you be comfortable in your home this summer.
Replace your air filter. This simple maintenance step really improves your system's performance, but it's often forgotten. With less dust and debris to slow airflow, your air conditioner will use less energy to keep your home cool. Depending on your filter type, we recommend checking your filter regularly and replacing it when necessary.
Install a dehumidifier. Air conditioners extract moisture from indoor air to help you feel cooler. They don’t actually “cool” the air the same way a furnace “warms” air. During rainy days or mid-summer when the humidity spikes, the air conditioner can’t handle it alone.
Extra humidity forces your air conditioner to work harder to keep up. Ultimately, it costs you more money to stay comfortable. Install a dehumidifier to better control the moisture in your home, allowing you to be more comfortable with your system set at a higher temperature. In addition to helping the AC unit, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable home and better air quality.
Too much moisture breeds mildew, mold, and dust mites--all of which trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
Activate "Passive Solar". When most people hear “solar,” they think of solar panels. Generations before solar panels were available, people knew how to harness and discourage solar power. For example, many people close blinds and curtains to block sunlight in east or south-facing rooms in the morning or on sunny days.
Also, you can plant deciduous trees on your property to block sunshine from heating up your home all summer. In the winter, when those trees lose leaves, you’ll happily welcome back those rays! Even the color of house paint or the building materials affects the warmth it attracts.
Install Air Circulation. Ceiling fans are a great addition to Kansas City homes, both indoors and outdoors. Like air conditioners, fans don’t actually “cool” the air. They make us feel cooler by accelerating the evaporation of perspiration. During the winter, they help move the warm air that’s risen to the ceiling down along the walls. This brings warmth back without turning up the thermostat.
Reduce Energy Loss. Once your AC cools the air, don't let it escape through cracks and leaks. There are many inexpensive ways to reduce energy loss. First, caulk around doors and windows and ensure they are sealed well. Also, you can install weatherstripping to keep hot air out and cool air from escaping. If your home is older, it wasn’t built with the same energy-efficient attitude we have today.
According to the Department of Energy, air moves in and out of your home through every hole and crack. They estimate that 20 percent of this energy loss happens through openings around windows, doors, and skylights.
Repair or Replace Ductwork. Whether your home is old or new, you probably have leaks in your ductwork. Most homes do. It’s important they are properly connected and as straight as possible. We find many are not insulated properly or have gaps and holes.
Homes develop more leaks over time as ductwork expands and contracts throughout use. If your home was built before central heating and air, the ductwork may resemble an octopus. When it comes to airflow and efficiency, the straighter the path the better.
Did you know you can lose up to 60 percent of your heated air before it reaches your rooms if it passes through uninsulated ducts or unheated spaces like attics and crawlspaces? Ask the team at A.B. May for an energy audit. You may benefit from ductwork repair or replacement.
Clean your ducts. Finally, if your ductwork contains lots of dust or debris like insect or critter material, you might want to take advantage of A.B. May’s duct cleaning services. You’ll improve the airflow of your heating and air system as well as your indoor air quality.
An easy way to save money while you’re out of town is to increase the temperature of your home. Before leaving town, increase the temperature by four degrees. For instance, if your thermostat is typically set to 74, increase the temperature to 78. If you typically keep it at 78, raise it to 82 degrees.
Resist the urge to turn the system off completely, as you will likely spend more than you’ll save to cool it down when you return. Turning it off completely also increases the risk of mold and mildew growth. It's best to keep the air circulating.
Strategic thermostat adjustments can save up to 10 percent off your monthly bill. If you have a programmable thermostat, for example, it may have a “vacation” mode. Wi-Fi-connected thermostats have more abilities, and “smart thermostats,” like the Nest line of products can do even more.
Smart thermostats are designed to save you money. Your technician can recommend one that works particularly well for your home and HVAC system.
Many smart thermostats automatically adapt to your life, remembering when you leave home and what temperatures you like at what times. They learn your rhythms and program themselves accordingly after a couple of weeks of manual programming.
Smart thermostats are an amazing tool for maintaining ideal temperatures in the summer (and year-round). Many come with apps that allow you to track your energy usage and set the temperature whether you are home or not.
Whether you need assistance with insulation, ductwork, thermostats, or if your AC is not working at all, A.B. May is here for you. If you think you’re ready for an air conditioning upgrade, we represent quality products.
For example, to boost cooling and run your central air less often, you might choose to install a ductless unit. These are amazing for older homes and for new additions. Ductless units provide just air conditioning or both heating and cooling, depending on your needs. They are quiet, energy-efficient, and provide zone control.
Curious? Contact us for a free estimate.