What Is the Ideal Temperature for Home Air Conditioning in the Summer?

June 21, 2021
Ideal Indoor Temperature in Roseville, Michigan

As the days get hotter, your air conditioning system will spend more and more time running. The temperature you choose for your thermostat will have a huge effect on how well your unit runs and how comfortable you feel. What’s the absolute best temperature to set your thermostat to? This will depend on your goals.

The Most Comfortable Temperature for Humans

Every person has his or her own unique preferences for air temperature. Factors like your metabolism, your favorite outfit, and your level of activity can all affect what temperature you like best. On average, a temperature of around 65 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit is usually the most comfortable temperature for adults. If your house has any young children or seniors, you may want to adjust the temperature further. However, they are both more at risk for hypothermia, so you should not set the temperature below 68. At the same time, infants are sensitive to heat, so you might want to keep the thermostat below 72 to prevent overheating.

From a scientific perspective, your most comfortable temperature will change based on the time of day. People sleep better when the air is slightly cooler than the usual temperature. The cold air helps you feel relaxed, tired, and ready to snuggle underneath a blanket. On average, most people will sleep best with their thermostat set somewhere between 60 to 67 degrees.

Keep in mind that the ideal temperature you like when you are outside will probably not be the temperature you want to run your thermostat at. Air conditioners remove moisture from the air, which ends up lowering the indoor temperature. Due to the way humidity affects your ability to cool yourself with sweat, low humidity air feels cooler than it really is. So, if you love a breezy, 70-degree day outside, a thermostat set at 70 degrees can feel unbearably chilly. When thinking about your preferred temperature, picture your favorite outdoor temperature, add a few degrees, and then try that number as a thermostat setting.

The Safest Temperature for Pets and Plants

If you have any furry friends or other living things in your home, remember to take them into account when setting your AC temperature. Most plants and animals can do well in temperatures higher than humans. However, if you are leaving the house for work, avoid turning off your AC unit. Make sure the thermostat is set to a safe setting for your pets or plants.

Most dogs need the thermostat to be set to no higher than 82 degrees. However, if your dog is a husky or other breed with a thick coat, they might prefer for the temperature to stay below 75. Meanwhile, cats run a little more hotblooded, so they are fine with temperatures as high as 85 degrees. If you have reptiles, spiders, or other living creatures in your residence, make sure to research their preferred temperature too because there can be a lot of variation among animals. Plants are similarly varied. Most can struggle if indoor temperatures get above 80 degrees, but some may flourish in hot temperatures.

The Best Temperature for Reducing Energy Usage

In most homes, setting the thermostat to an ideal temperature is about more than just keeping all of your household’s inhabitants cozy. An air conditioner can use a lot of power in your home. If you want to avoid wasting energy or getting sky-high electric bills, you need to choose the right setting. When it comes to saving energy, the answer to “What’s the right temperature?” is essentially just “As high as you can set it.”

The higher your thermostat setting is, the less it will run. The reduced runtime then ends up leading to bigger energy savings for you, and you get the biggest savings of all if your AC unit is turned off altogether. Some people think that turning off the air conditioner for part of the day will waste energy when your unit has to run extra to cool your house several degrees later on. However, this common myth is not true. Even with the extra work later on, having your AC unit off for hours will save you energy.

Of course, leaving your air conditioner off for hours is not really feasible during the hot days of summer. To get savings while still staying reasonably comfortable, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends people set their thermostats to 78 degrees. This is the best of both worlds, providing comfortable coolness and decent energy savings. If you can turn off your thermostat for part of the day, even better. New smart thermostats let you adjust your settings automatically, so you can have your cooling system at far higher temperatures while you are away from home.

The Right Temperature for Protecting Your Belongings

When considering the right temperature, do not forget to think about your belongings either. Certain types of materials will need specific temperatures to stay in good shape. Temperatures above 75 degrees can cause wood materials to warp. So, if you have a wood frame house or a lot of wood furniture, you might want to keep things on the cooler side. Meanwhile, delicate paintings, books, or other antiques do best if you do not set your thermostat above 72.

If you have a lot of fancy electronics, the temperature can also affect how well they run. At higher temperatures, your computers, video game consoles, or other devices may struggle with overheating. Therefore, you need to make sure your residence is no hotter than 82 degrees. Most equipment will operate best with an external temperature of 72 degrees, which is the temperature most manufacturers test their electronics at.

The Ideal Temperature for Maintaining Your AC

One final thing to think about is the temperature that will expand your air conditioner’s lifespan. A typical AC unit does best when it has a little time to rest and cool down, so you do not want a temperature so low that your system is running nonstop. That can cause your evaporator coil to freeze over. At the same time, constantly cycling on and off is bad because repeatedly having to put parts into motion puts stress on your air conditioning system.

Generally, most AC units will do well with a thermostat set somewhere between 65 and 80 degrees. However, it might take a bit of time to find your system’s best temperature. Pay attention to how long it cycles for, and then adjust the temperature accordingly. Ideally, your setting should let your cooling system run for at least 15 minutes without shutting down, but it will also need an hour or two of downtime each day.

To make sure your AC unit is ready for the summer, turn to C & C Heating & Air Conditioning. Our team of highly trained technicians can service your equipment, perform necessary repairs, and help you save money on your cooling bills. We are also happy to help people in the metro Detroit area with AC installs, heater repairs, duct cleaning, and more. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

company icon