What is wrong with my body OR What temperature should I set my AC thermostat to?
“What temperature should I set my thermostat to?” This is a great question we hear often and not an easy one to answer. It would be easier to answer if it was asked like this: “Should I set the A/C to be comfortable or set it so my electric bills are as low as possible?”
According to the US Department of Energy, the lowest you should turn your thermostat down to is 78ºF, and only when you are at home and need cooling. WAIT, WHAT?!? The lowest should be 78º? That would be outrageous, right? Maybe… then again, maybe not. The answer to whether or not 78º is outrageous would depend on several factors. The US Department of Energy writes articles for the entirety of the United States. This is important to remember because the U.S. has many different climates, and many of them aren’t as warm AND humid for as long as it is in Central Florida.
Here in Tampa Bay, we know what it’s like to walk outside on a 79º day and begin to breathe heavy and feel the sweat roll down the small of your back. This is one of the effects of humidity (the amount of water vapor in the air). The humidity will drastically change the way the temperature feels. A 79º day can feel great with low humidity, and miserable when high. The same applies inside your home.
So, really, what should I set my thermostat to? If the humidity is properly controlled and you have adequate circulation, then 78º should be great. If you have issues with humidity and/or circulation, 78º can feel like a sauna.
Here are some common reasons you can be having humidity issues:
- a dirty or worn out air conditioning system (coils do not exchange heat or remove humidity as they wear and get dirty)
- an improperly sized AC system (very common and unforgiving here in Florida)
- a large home or two story home without zoning (different areas with different construction and exposures to heat shouldn’t change comfort, but due to poor comfort system design, they usually do)
- your home is very leaky, allowing air to freely enter and exit your home (dirty, warm, humid air enters from every nook and cranny, especially attic accesses, attic fans, can lights, ceiling fan boxes, and around air vents)
If you’re having comfort issues, having to run your thermostat low (below 76º), changing your thermostat at night (lower outdoor temp = higher relative humidity inside = lowering your air conditioning to be comfortable at night), dust issues, or electric bills that are higher than you think they should be, we can help. Call The Comfort Authority today at (813) 501-2240.