Let’s be honest: when it comes to cooling my home, I care much more about comfort than I do about cost.
If it’s blazing hot outside, I’ll crank my air conditioner way down without thinking twice. It isn’t until my electric bill arrives that I realize the effects of turning my living room in to an ice cave for four days straight.
I don’t know about you, but high bills aren’t my idea of summer fun.
So, before the hot, sunny days disappear, I’m paying more attention to setpoints.
No, my husband and I didn’t join a competitive beach volleyball team. A setpoint is a feature on most thermostats that lets you set a temperature you’d like your house to maintain.
Setpoints work relative to the temperature inside your house. So, for example, when the temperature inside our home is higher than the setpoint, our air conditioner and HVAC equipment work to cool our home to the temperature we’ve set on our thermostat. And while it may seem simple, adjusting the setpoint by just a few degrees can add up to major energy savings.
The U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home, and bumping that up 7 to 10 degrees when you’re away.
It’s also important to consider outdoor temperatures when determining the best setpoint. You can save the most energy by maintaining the smallest difference between outdoor temperatures and the setpoint on your thermostat.
But the key to finding the right setpoint for you and your home means balancing comfort with energy savings.
Since my summer temperature tolerance hovers way below the suggested 78-degree setpoint, I’m taking these extra steps to keep cool:
- Close the curtains. A huge percentage of unwanted heat comes from windows.
- Set ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. Ceiling fans running in a counter-clockwise direction can create a wind-chill breeze effect.
- Fire up the grill. Ovens will heat up the kitchen, so take your cooking outside instead.
- Sip on a cool drink. You can trick yourself in to feeling cooler when you’re drinking something cold. Consider it an excuse to pull out some festive glassware.
- Get out of the house. Instead of avoiding the heat, take advantage of it! Head out to a nearby pool, or find a shaded park with a nice breeze.
While triple-digit-temperatures may seem unbearable right now, let’s all take a moment to remember that the summer season will soon be over. Then it’s just a matter of time until we’re complaining about snow and sub-zero temperatures.
I plan to use my newfound knowledge about setpoints to save some energy and money on cooling costs before the weather takes a turn.
For expert advice on how to save energy this season, check out what Black Hills Energy has to say.