Best Temperature for Your AC in the Summer

When the blistering summer heat hits, everyone scrambles to the nearest thermostat to get the cold air flowing. But the right air conditioner temperature isn’t just about getting comfortable. It’s also about energy efficiency and lowering your utility costs. So, what’s the right number? The answer relies upon on your particular needs and the time of day. Explore the optimal AC temperatures when you’re at home, away or when you are sleeping.

The Best AC Temperature When You’re at Home

The optimal daytime, at-home temperature for a residence’s air conditioning is 78 degrees. This number may seem remarkably high, but the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) states it balances comfort and energy efficiency. Here are a couple of tips to help keep your home nice and cool at 78 degrees:

    • Use fans: Whether you’re using a ceiling fan or a desk fan, circulating air makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler. Plus, fans cost a surprisingly small amount of money to operate compared to your air conditioner.
    • Dress lightly: What you wear significantly affects your comfort level. Choosing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics will help you keep cool during the summer months.
    • Block out the sun: Sunlight beaming through the windows will often heat a room a lot. To prevent your home from becoming a greenhouse, draw the curtains or blinds to block out the sun, at least during the peak afternoon hours.
    • Stay hydrated: Water consumption has a significant part in regulating your body temperature. Staying hydrated boosts your body’s natural cooling processes.
    • Cook smart: Cooking creates a sizable amount of heat, forcing your HVAC system to work harder, so avoid using the oven or stove during the hottest part of the afternoon. Instead, cook food in the microwave, prepare cold meals on hot days or grill outdoors until the weather isn’t so hot.

The Best AC Temperature While You’re Away

The DOE advises setting the temperature back 7 to 10 degrees when you’re going to be out of the house for eight hours, a move that can save up to 10 percent on your cooling costs. Installing a programmable thermostat is the quickest method to save without giving up comfort.

This technology allows you to automatically change the temperature at different times of the day or week based on your schedule, lowering your energy bills without sacrificing comfort. The trick is to use your programmable thermostat in the correct way. Here are some tips for taking advantage of its full power:

    • Set it and forget it: Set up your thermostat to automatically set the temperature back about half an hour or so before you leave for work or school in the morning. Then, set the thermostat to start bringing the temperature back down so a comfortable temperature resumes just as you walk in the door when you get home.
    • Use the vacation setting: If you’re away from home for a long time, use the “vacation” or “permanent” hold to use the “away” temperature for days at a time. This stops excessive heat and humidity buildup without wasting energy to run your air conditioner in an empty house.
    • Make gradual adjustments: Your air conditioner works most efficiently at steady speeds. Plus, a significant 10-degree drop won’t cool your home more quickly. If you have to, drop the temperature by a single degree and turn on a fan or remove a layer of clothing to help you feel more comfortable.
    • Leverage smart capabilities: If you choose a smart thermostat, make the most of its programming capability and extra features. Some designs can learn from your behaviors and adapt the temperature accordingly or be managed remotely for superior comfort and convenience.

The Best AC Temperature When You’re Sleeping

When it’s time to go to bed, the DOE recommends setting the temperature 4 degrees higher than your typical setting. However, many people find it difficult to sleep in a warm room. This makes getting the ideal sleep temperature a struggle. Thankfully, you can use several techniques to beat the heat while you go to sleep:

    • Sleep in lightweight pajamas and breathable bed sheets: Just like your daytime wardrobe, your choice of pajamas influences how hot or cold you feel. Your bed sheets also influence your comfort level. In both cases, light and breathable cotton is the ideal choice.
    • Run a fan: Just like during the day, a fan can create a cool breeze in your bedroom at bedtime, making sleep more comfortable.
    • Open a window: If it cools off at night, make the most of this by going to bed with the windows open.
    • Take a warm shower before bed: It may sound strange, but a warm shower actually cools you down faster than a cold shower. It works by elevating your blood circulation, bringing heat to the surface of your skin, where it radiates away faster.

Schedule AC Services this Summer in the U.S.

Balancing a home’s comfort and energy efficiency can be challenging. Why spend all summer searching for the right AC temperatures when Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you make the most of your air conditioning? Our high-quality, cost-effective AC services in the U.S. come with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, so you can choose us with complete confidence. Call 866-397-3787 today to schedule the premium services you need with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >


  • Upgrade to Worry-Free Comfort with the Advantage Program and make NO payments for 30 days!


  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.