What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner In Summer?

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Air conditioning is something that a lot of people depend upon every single day all year round. When summer arrives and the temperatures begin to rise, air conditioning is the thing that gives a lot of people the relief from the heat that they need. 

Although, with all technology, it has its faults and can sometimes be temperamental. This can be due to damaged wires (see also ‘How To Wire Twist Lock Plugs‘) or a thermostat that isn’t working correctly. If you notice these issues, you need to solve them straight away. 

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner

Typically, an air conditioner will be working overtime during the summer to keep your home cool. However, you may have wondered what temperature you should be setting your air conditioner to during the summer. 

In this article, we intend to answer this question and offer some tips so that you can remain cool during the hot summer months. 

Should You Set Your Air Conditioning To 72?

On average, a lot of people will say that they set their air conditioning to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet the Department of Energy has said that this temperature is way too high. Instead, it is recommended to set your thermostat to around 78 degrees Fahrenheit instead when it is summer. 

You may feel as if this number is too high and won’t give you the comfort that you are desiring. Yet there are other ways to remain comfortable, even if the indoor temperature has been raised. 

How To Stay Comfy Yet Raising The Temperature

As we have said above, it is recommended that you should set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Now for a lot of people they may feel like this temperature is too high for summer. 

However, raising the temperature does bring about many positives. The internal temperature may be higher, but this doesn’t have to affect your comfort levels either. 

Raise The Temperature While You Are Out

If you aren’t at home, then there is no way you can be uncomfortable in your home with the temperature. To be able to gain the advantages of having a higher indoor temperature, then you should turn the thermostat up while you are out of the house.

You can do this with any thermostat, but a programmable thermostat makes this much more simple. As you can set it while you are out at work. There are some thermostat models that you can actually change by using your phone. 

As you are away from your home, then it shouldn’t matter what the temperature is, as no one will have to withstand it. Therefore, when you are away, it is suggested that you should try to get your indoor temperature to closely match the outdoor temperature. 

You may wonder why you would want to do this. The reason is, by doing this, it helps your air conditioner (see also ‘Air Conditioner Won’t Shut Off‘) to work much more efficiently and effectively. As a result, it can even help you to save hundreds of dollars on your energy bills. 

New Air Conditioner

If it is time for a new air conditioning system, this can help your home. A lot of the new AC units are built with various features, which makes it even easier to save more money on your energy bills than ever before. 

In particular, a new air conditioning system, this will let you increase your home’s indoor temperature. Then you can reap the benefits of the new system. This is due to a lot of the newer air conditioners (see also ‘Air Conditioner Keeps Running When Turned Off? Here’s What To Do!‘) having a fan with variable speeds.

There are even 2 staged cooling features as well. Therefore, even if the indoor temperature has been set to quite high, these extra features in newer models will help you to stay cool (see also our guide to staying cool in the Florida heat). 

The Cost

It isn’t surprising that a lot of people set their thermostat to below 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This may make you really cool on those hot summer days, yet it also rapidly increases your energy bills as well. 

If your thermostat is always set really low, then this makes your air conditioning unit work even harder. As a result, you are then shortening the lifespan of your air conditioner (see also ‘What Is An Air Conditioner Pad & Do You Need One?’) as it is working too hard. Then you will find yourself replacing the unit a lot soon and more often than you had expected. 

Air conditioners (see also ‘Is It Cheaper To Leave Your Air Conditioner On All Day?’) can vary in price. The cheapest maybe a couple of hundred dollars, while some more high-end models with various features can reach thousands of dollars as well.

Even if you don’t want to raise your thermostat to 78 degrees, even if you raise the indoor temperature by just one or two degrees, you will notice a difference. You will see a difference in your energy bills and an AC unit that will last much longer. 

Use Fans

Use Fans

There are other ways to keep yourself cool, even if the indoor temperature has been set to quite high. In the summer months, fans can be your best friends. If your household isn’t using fans, then you have been missing out on a huge trick. 

If you have a ceiling fan or a simple box fan, any fan can really go a long way in making your summer much more comfortable and relaxing. Even if you have set the indoor temperature to 78 degrees, a ceiling fan will make your room feel a lot cooler. 

Although, you want to use the fans carefully. There is a right and a wrong time to use a fan to keep you cool. For example, in the evenings and at night, the temperature during summer. You want to get as much of that cool air in your room as you can. 

Thus, opening a window and placing a box fan on your window will help you to let even more of that cooler air into your room as you try to sleep. This will make you feel a lot more comfortable, at a time when you want to feel as cool as possible. 

This can lead to you using your air conditioning unit much less. You are then letting more natural and fresher air into your home as well. 

Make Slow Adjustments

A lot of homeowners can easily keep their indoor temperature at around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some households don’t like to set their thermostat above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people like their home to be freezing cold. However, if you fit into this category, then making some slow adjustments over time may help you in the long term. 

These slow improvements could be by raising the thermostat by one degree every week whilst it is summer. This is a small change that you will barely notice. However, your body will slowly get used to these smaller changes of the indoor temperature being slightly warmer than usual. 

For some people, this is a much better approach, as it does not shock your body with a sudden change in temperature. Instead, it gives your body time to adjust so that you barely notice a difference. 

What’s The Best Temperature To Ensure Humidity Control In Your Home?

If you live somewhere that has a really humid climate, this can be bad for your home. If your home becomes too humid, then you are putting your home at risk of developing mildew and mold that will have to be treated and removed. 

Also, the added moisture can cause wood to rot and paint to peel off the walls. Therefore, when it is summer, or you live in a humid climate, you want to keep the humid levels down. You may be concerned that keeping your AC unit at 78 degrees can help promote humidity in your home. 

However, running an AC unit can help you to lower the humidity levels in your home. The ideal humidity levels that you want to aim for should be around 30 to 50%. A built-in humidistat in a humidifier, will help you to monitor the humidity levels in your home easily.

When it comes to your humidity levels, it is recommended to set your thermostat as high as you can that still allows you to remain comfortably. 

The Safest Temperature For Pets And Plants

In your home, you may have plants or pets living inside. You need to take them into consideration when setting the temperature for your AC unit. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that the majority of animals and plants withstand higher temperatures than humans. Not all do, but most do. 

If you are going out, then you should make sure that the thermostat is set at a safe temperature for your furry friends and plants. For example, the majority of dogs can withstand temperatures up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

They struggle if the temperature goes above this. However,  some breeds of dogs that have thick coats like huskies prefer the temperature to stay around 75 degrees or below. 

Then, when it comes to cats, they are actually quite warm-blooded. This means they are comfortable with temperatures up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, if you have other pets such as spiders or reptiles, you should do your research to find out what their preferred temperatures are.

This is because all animals vary a lot in what their preferred temperature can be, so it is important to get it right, so you don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable.

When it comes to plants, they can be just as varied as your pets. Although, as a general rule of thumb, a lot of plants will struggle if the indoor temperatures reach above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Some do really thrive in hot climates, yet a lot will struggle if it gets too hot or humid. Again, do your research. 

Yet overall, all animals and plants will be comfortable if the AC unit is set to 78 degrees. The only ones that could struggle are any thick coated animals, like certain breeds of dogs. 


Now, you should have a better understanding of what temperature you should be setting your air conditioning to during the summer. Seventy-eight degrees is the perfect temperature that allows you to prolong the life of your AC unit and keep your energy bills down. 

We have given you tips on how to stay cool while the indoor temperature has been set higher than you may expect.  

We hope you have found this article useful. Thanks for reading!

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