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5 Summer Thermostat Tips to Keep Cool on a Budget

keep cool on a budget thermostat

No one wants to perspire inside their own home. After all, that is what air conditioning was invented to avoid!

But it is never fun to get that “surprise” summer energy bill, either. After watching every penny, it can be a real bummer to have to spend it all on just staying cool.

Luckily, you can stay cool and comfortable inside your home without having to blow your budget to pay for it.

In this article, we review five timely summer thermostat tips to help you maximize your cool while minimizing your cooling costs.

1. Map out your family’s at-home summer schedule

One of the most costly aspects of cooling your home comes when your air conditioner is running full blast but nobody’s home.

Unfortunately, summer tends to produce particularly unpredictable schedules with kids out of school and involved in summer activities, and with vacations, longer daylight hours, and other variations.

Here, the best approach is to attempt to map out your family’s at-home summer schedule. If this sounds impossible, just start with the basics:

  • Block out the times when you know everyone will be at home and sleeping.

  • Note your regular work hours (or your partner’s, or both).

  • If your teens have summer jobs, note their work hours also.

  • Jot down everyone’s recurring summer activities and those hours.

  • If you have a family vacation scheduled, write down those dates.

Now, you can take a look at your calendar from a bigger perspective and do your best to estimate the hours every day when no one will be home. You can set your thermostat temperature to be higher during those hours.

2. Set your baseline daytime at-home thermostat temperature to 26°C (78°F)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 26°C (78°F) is the optimal daytime temperature for when your home is occupied.

During the hours no one is home, you can set your thermostat higher. The DOE states that you will save up to 10 percent off your cooling bill by choosing a setting that is 7 to 10 degrees higher than the setting you use when everyone's home.

Of course, if you or another family member does happen to be home one day during a time you thought the house would be unoccupied, they can always manually adjust the thermostat setting to reflect their cooling needs.

3. Take steps to regulate indoor humidity

Humidity is one of the reasons summer feels so hot. If you’ve ever been to a region where the humidity is naturally low, you probably noticed you felt less hot even when the temperature was higher than you prefer. You probably also perspired much less.

In summer, it isn’t uncommon to see humidity levels climb to 60 percent or higher. This can make even average temperatures feel really hot and uncomfortable!

One of the best ways to regulate the humidity levels indoors is to use a hygrometer to figure out how much humidity you have inside your home. Keep in mind here that the humidity levels can vary from room to room, with the bathrooms, laundry room, and kitchen being the most consistently humid.

If your humidity levels stay within 30 to 50 percent, you don’t have to adjust them downward unless you still feel uncomfortable.

But if you notice your home’s indoor humidity levels at 50 percent or climbing higher than that, it is time to get to work.

Here are some ideas for how to lower your in-home humidity levels:

  • Use room-sized dehumidifiers or exhaust vents. These portable devices can help take humidity out of the air if only certain rooms are too humid.

  • Add a heat recovery ventilator. This nifty appliance works together with your HVAC unit to naturally control humidity levels as well as lower your energy bill by using the air’s heat to regulate temperature.

  • Install a whole-home dehumidifier system. If you have a problem with humidity throughout your home, a central dehumidifier unit will help you get the situation under control.

  • Be sure not to leave windows or doors open, and check your weather stripping and seals. The more humid outside air comes into your home, the hotter you will feel and the more tempted you will be to lower your thermostat more.

4. Consider the addition of other cooling helps

There are other things you can do besides running the air conditioner to keep your indoor spaces cool.

Here are a few of the most affordable options the DOE recommends:

  • Lower blinds and draperies in the morning to keep in the cool.

  • Use ceiling and floor fans to keep the air moving.

  • Landscape strategically to block the incoming sunlight.

  • Install light-blocking shades and awnings to block direct sunlight.

  • Turn off lighting so you don’t inadvertently “heat” your home with hot light bulbs!

  • Do heat-producing chores (like cooking) during cooler hours.

5. Have your air conditioner serviced regularly

Some of the high energy costs summer generates may not be entirely due to the outside temperature or even the humidity.

A dirty, clogged, or poorly maintained HVAC unit can also force your air conditioner to pull more power than it is designed to use to keep your home cool.

Give Us a Call

Shipton’s Heating & Cooling brings nearly a century of expertise right to your doorstep! We will keep your HVAC unit running smoothly and affordably all year long.

Just give us a call at 905-549-4616.

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