You know how a thermostat works. You’ve probably been around them in the homes you’ve lived in throughout your life. When you want the house to be cooler, you lower the setting. When you want the house to be warmer, you raise it. You can also turn the fan on and off, maybe a few other little features, but that’s it.
However, it isn’t as simple as we’ve described it. In our experience as HVAC experts, we’ve seen people make many mistakes with their thermostat settings so they end up wasting energy and not getting the comfort they need. Sending the thermostat setting zig-zagging through a summer day depending on how you currently feel can mean higher bills than necessary and a house that goes hot and cold rather than where you need it.
We’re going to give you the knowledge you need to be “comfort wise”!
What the Thermostat Actually Does
Is the thermostat like a throttle, where the more you push it, the more power you get from it? No, not at all. This is the bit that trips people up. Lowering the thermostat down to 60°F during a hot day doesn’t make the AC produce more cooling. The thermostat is actually a switch rather than a throttle. It determines when the air conditioner turns on and turns off. Lowering the thermostat from 78°F to 60°F on a hot day only means the air conditioner’s compressor will stay on longer to meet the lower setting. The cooling won’t come faster, and the house will end up far too cold. (You don’t want a 60°F house!)
Here’s another factor to consider with the thermostat: the speed at which your house gains heat from outside. The bigger the difference in temperatures between the inside of the house and the outside of the house, the faster heat moves indoors. If you push the thermostat down far, it means the house will gain heat at a faster rate, and you’ll be stuck running the air conditioner for even longer. Raising the thermostat to a higher temperature that’s still comfortable slows down heat gain—a more comfortable house, less energy used.
A Thermostat Temperature Goal
So what is a good thermostat setting to save energy? During the day when people are home, we recommend a setting of 78°F, which is also what the Department of Energy recommends. If this sounds too warm, you can set the thermostat lower, but no lower than 72°F. Then raise it by one degree each day to allow people to become used to the warmer temperature until you reach 78°F. Then, during the evening or times when people are not home, program the thermostat to rise by 8° to 10°F. This is where a programmable thermostat comes in handy—you won’t have to think much about the ideal settings because the thermostat is taking care of it automatically.
We’re pros at air conditioning in Conyers, GA, and we offer same-day service when you need help staying cool. We can help see your AC works at its energy-saving best.
Premier Heating & Air serves Conyers, GA and South Metro Atlanta. Experience the Premier Difference!