- by Courtesy of Realtor.com
Forget the low 70s, the coolest you should keep your residence is 78 degrees when you’re at home. That’s according to Energy Star, a federal program run by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Thermostat wars were already a common source of household friction, but the “warmer is wiser” camp gets some backing from the agencies. The EPA and Energy Department advise bumping the thermostat to 82 degrees when sleeping, and up to 85 degrees for an empty house, if maximum energy efficiency is to be achieved.
The dog days of August apparently revived the row around these temperature “guidelines,” with dozens of local news stations from Massachusetts to Florida suggesting in recent days that the recommendations ignore their own state’s excessively humid summers.
Homeowners can save about 3% on their utility bill for every degree they raise the set temperature for central air, according to the Energy Department. And a programmable thermostat can save about $180 every year in energy costs.
Among the warm-blooded, their wallet and Earth’s longevity can only be considered in the context of personal health. Matt Walker, “Why We Sleep” author and a professor of neuroscience at the University of California–Berkeley, found on Twitter as @sleepdiplomat, says the ideal thermostat setting for sound sleeping is 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Homeowners who live in areas with moderate temperatures should open their windows at night if it’s cooler and close them again first thing in the morning.
“If you have a fan, turn it on,” the Energy Star site says. “A ceiling fan or box fan causes a wind-chill effect that makes you feel cooler at a higher temperature setting, as long as the humidity isn’t too high.”
While geography plays a major role in determining how much a household will pay for air conditioning, so does the size of a home. Residents of a 500-square-foot home will pay a median of nearly $68 during the summer months to keep their place cool, whereas people who live in a home larger than 4,000 square feet can expect to pay more than $226 over the summer, MarketWatch’s Jacob Passy reports.