Air conditioning during most of the year is simply a fact of life here in Orlando, FL. People take it for granted that a large percentage of their monthly electrical bills will go to running the AC. But homeowners often make simple mistakes with their cooling systems that lead to higher bills. One of these basic mistakes is placing the air conditioner thermostat at lower temperatures than necessary.
The reasons that a lower thermostat setting doesn’t equal better comfort
There is a common confusion about how thermostats work, which is that they are like a throttle: the more you press it, the faster the car goes. Or in this case, the fast the air conditioning system works. But the truth is that a thermostat is a switch: it either runs the compressor for the air conditioner or it doesn’t. When you put your thermostat down to its lowest setting (such as 60°F), you won’t get your home cooled down any faster. Instead, the air conditioner will simpler stay on longer until the temperature reaches 60°F—which isn’t even that comfortable. It’s too chilly for most people. And because the compressor stayed on much longer to get there, you’ll end up paying a lot more on your bills.
So what is the ideal thermostat setting?
For most households, 78°F is a good energy-saving setting. Just moving up from 68°F to 78°F can mean a 25% or greater reduction on your cooling costs. When you keep the temperature steady at 78°F during the day, the air conditioner will not remain on for long stretches at a time (unless the temperature outdoors is scorchingly high) but it won’t be in danger of short-cycling either. At night, before you go to bed, raise the thermostat up another 5°F. (If you have a programmable thermostat—and you should—make this part of its standard program.)
Southeast Air & Heat offers air conditioning services in Orlando and the surrounding areas.