Feds: 78 degrees is the coolest your air conditioner should go

Aug 20, 2019, 1:12 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:34 pm
air conditioner thermostat...
The government's Energy Star program recommends setting the thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer, when you're home and awake. Photo: Getty Images

Turns out we’re all keeping our thermostat much too cool. New information from the government suggests the coolest your air conditioner should be set in the summer is a balmy 78 degrees.

The federal government’s joint program between the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star, released some new recommendations for how cool to keep your home in order to save energy.

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They are recommending three different temperatures to be used at different times of day.

Air conditioner 101

Energy Star recommends keeping the temperature between the outside world and your home as close as is comfortable in order to be the most efficient and reduce energy costs.

The agency recommends keeping your air conditioner at 78℉ when you’re home in the summertime, 82℉ when you’re asleep and 85℉ when you’re away.

According to the DOE, raising your set temperature for air conditioning saves you about three percent on your utility bill for each degree increase. Energy officials say it adds up fast — because air conditioners use about five percent of the electricity produced in the US every year, at a cost of more than $29 billion.

Other things you can do

Energy Star recommends a series of other changes you can make to reduce utility costs while keeping your home cool. They include:

-Using a ceiling fan — which can allow you to raise your thermostat as much as four degrees without sacrificing comfort

-Insulating your attic and walls and sealing any cracks that allow warm air to come into your home

-Insulating and sealing ducts

-Using a grill or smoker to cook dinner instead of the stove or oven

-Installing energy-efficient window coverings to prevent the sun from heating your home

-Upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioning unit to cool your home

-Regularly cleaning and replacing your AC unit’s filters

-Using the bathroom fan when showering or bathing

-Using the kitchen range hood when cooking

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Feds: 78 degrees is the coolest your air conditioner should go