You may look at the title of this post and think that we’re a bit batty. “It’s summer, it’s hot outside! Why would I want to turn my thermostat up and make it hotter?”
Well, we aren’t encouraging you to heat your house. We’re encouraging you (something the Department of Energy does as well) to put your thermostat at a higher setting than you normally have it when you’re trying to keep cool. It’s likely that you have the thermostat pushed down to a setting that’s too low for ideal comfort and energy conservation.
The Secret of the Thermostat
To understand why raising the setting of the thermostat in summer is beneficial, it helps to understand what a thermostat actually does. It’s a switch: although it may use complex computer programs to monitor when it activates its switch, it still controls whether the AC compressor and fans are on and off. It’s not like a throttle in a car where the more you open it up, the more power comes through. So when you lower the thermostat, you aren’t asking the air conditioner to produce more cooling; you’re asking it to stay on longer until it reaches the setting on the thermostat. If you push down the thermostat to 60°F, you won’t have a house that gets cooler much faster—only an AC compressor that will run longer until the house is 60°F, which is far too cold for most people’s comfort.
The Temperature Difference
There’s another factor to consider when thinking about where to set the thermostat. Heat moves from an area of greater concentration to an area of lower concentration. On a hot day, the temperature outdoors will move into your house because the house is cooler. Insulation helps to slow this down (yes, insulation works to help keep you cool as well as warm), but there’s no way to stop it all. The bigger the temperature difference, the faster the heat moves indoors.
If you have the indoor temperature of the house raised higher, it slows down heat gain. A house kept far cooler will have a faster influx of heat and end up placing more strain on the AC. Raising the thermostat temperature a few degrees makes a significant difference in slowing down heat gain.
Recommended Thermostat Settings
What do we recommend for higher thermostat settings during summer? We suggest targeting 78°F during the day when people are home, and then raising it around 8°F during the evening or when nobody is in the house. Most people will be comfortable at 78°F, especially if there are fans in the house to help. If that temperature still feels too hot, we advise you to lower the thermostat a few degrees, and then raise it by one degree each day afterward to help everyone become used to 78°F.
Following this advice will help you cut down on your cooling costs by up to 20%. You’ll also enjoy better comfort, rather than going through a freeze and overheat cycle. Your air conditioner will suffer from less work stress, help it avoid extra repairs and give it a longer lifespan.
For more assistance with your HVAC in Westford, MA, look to the company that’s been trusted for over 30 years.