turning on the AC

What’s the Best Temperature to Keep Your AC Set On?

Struggling to set the perfect temperature on your AC? This article helps homeowners and renters balance comfort and energy efficiency. We’ll explore optimal thermostat settings, including when you’re home, away, or sleeping. Plus, we’ll discuss the benefits of a smart thermostat. 

So if you want cool comfort without a high electric bill, keep reading – this will be your thermostat guide!

Key Takeaways

  • Set your air conditioner to match the comfort level of everyone. If 80°F is the daytime consensus, consider 76°F for nights and 87°F when no one’s home. Remember to balance individual comfort with energy savings.
  • Smart thermostats offer a modern solution to temperature control. They learn your routine, provide remote adjustments via smartphones, give energy consumption insights, and can integrate with other smart home devices.
  • For natural cooling, shield from peak sun by closing windows, using cool night air, and limiting heat-producing appliances for energy savings.

What’s the Best Temperature to Keep Your AC Set On?


During the sweltering summer months, outdoor temperatures often soar, challenging homeowners to balance indoor comfort and energy efficiency. Begin by determining a suitable temperature setting that accommodates everyone, especially when temperatures climb above 90 degrees; finding a middle ground is crucial. 

While active at home, your household may find 80°F to be a comfortable AC temperature that balances comfort and energy efficiency. However, consider lowering the temperature by about 4°F at night for better sleep and energy optimization (Energy Star). When the house is unoccupied, you might raise it by 7°F. So, if 80°F is your chosen daytime setting, you’d adjust to 76°F for sleeping and 87°F when away. 

These adjustments help households respond to varying outdoor temperatures while maximizing energy savings.

While Out of the House

Being away from home presents a prime opportunity for energy savings. Consider increasing your indoor temperature during these periods, alleviating strain on your AC unit and reducing energy usage, translating to reduced utility bills.

The U.S. Department of Energy doesn’t mandate an ideal temperature. Still, a general guideline is to set the thermostat a few degrees higher than your usual comfort level when you’re away. 

For example, if you typically prefer 78°F, aiming for around 82°F to 85°F during your absence can make a tangible difference in savings.

While at Home

Creating a comfortable indoor environment is essential when you’re home. While there’s no one-size-fits-all temperature, a setting of 68-70°F often strikes the right balance for many households in winter, and 75-78°F is usually a comfortable setting during summer. 

Of course, personal preferences can vary, so it’s essential to consider everyone’s comfort. Start with these temperatures as a baseline, then adjust to cater to the household’s unique preferences and comfort levels. 

Just remember that the closer the temperature inside is to the outside, the cheaper the energy costs.

While Sleeping

During sleep, our body temperature naturally decreases, which signals to our brains that it’s time to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests setting your thermostat to a lower temperature, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, to support this process. This cooler temperature can improve sleep quality and help you wake up refreshed.

However, comfort levels vary from person to person, so it’s crucial to find the temperature that works best for you. If 65 degrees feels too cool, raise the temperature slightly until you find your perfect sleep temperature. A smart thermostat simplifies this by allowing you to program different temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring a cooler environment for sleeping and a warmer one for waking up.

Do Smart Thermostats Help?

Smart thermostats are a game-changer for homeowners aiming for energy efficiency and comfort. These devices provide intelligent control over your air conditioning system, enabling you to program your desired temperatures for different times of the day.

If you’re away from home, a smart thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature, reducing energy usage and utility bills. Some companies even offer rebates for utilizing smart thermostats, further enhancing savings. 

However, it’s important to be aware of potential concerns, such as companies being able to adjust your temperature settings without warning.

In addition, programmable thermostats can learn your routine over time, making temperature adjustments based on your lifestyle. This feature ensures a comfortable temperature setting when you’re home and energy savings when you’re out.

Moreover, these thermostats can provide energy consumption reports, helping you understand your energy usage pattern and make further adjustments for optimal energy savings.

One particularly beneficial feature of smart thermostats is remote control. With this feature, you can use your smartphone to adjust your thermostat from anywhere. Forgot to adjust the temperature before leaving home? No problem; your thermostat settings can be updated with a few taps on your phone.

Overall, the investment in a smart thermostat can pay off quickly with the energy savings you’ll accrue over time, making it a worthwhile consideration for any homeowner looking to balance comfort and cost.

Tips for Keeping Your House Cool Without AC

You should always consider alternative methods for keeping your home cool, especially during summer. Doing so can reduce your energy bills significantly and positively impact your cooling costs. Here are other ways to keep your home cool without air conditioning. And if it helps, we can help you find electricity plans that help you save money and energy.

Closing and Covering Windows

Taking advantage of the shading provided by trees or building awnings is a great way to keep your house cool without AC. If you don’t have access to natural shade, consider adding window blinds or curtains and closing them during peak hours for added protection from heat gain. 

For windows that receive direct sunlight throughout the day, consider investing in higher-quality curtains to block out more heat. Naturally, ceiling fans can help with airflow, which can help you feel cooler. Just note that fans don’t cool down homes; they still blow around hot air if the temperature is hot.

Turn AC Off and Open Windows at Night

Opening your windows at night is a great way to get cool air in your home naturally. The cooler nighttime air can help reduce indoor temperatures. If you have adjacent rooms with different temperatures, you can circulate the air between them for extra cooling. Be sure to close your windows when the temperature rises again in the morning, preventing more heat from entering your home.

Avoid Using Appliances That Heat Up a Space

Avoid using any appliance that uses extra heat or electricity when the temperature rises. These items include ovens, stoves, clothes dryers, dishwashers, computers, and TVs. Unplugging these devices can save energy and reduce the amount of warmth entering your home.