Set your thermostat to 78 degrees

Written by terrapass


*It’s been too long since we posted some nuts-and-bolts conservation tips. So without further ado…*

It’s hot out there. But it doesn’t need to be quite so cool inside. Set your thermostat to turn on the air conditioning at a temperature no lower than 78° F (25° C).

**How this helps**

It simply doesn’t need to be that cold inside. This is an easy way to save energy and money.

*Pro:* You’ll save up to 3% of your annual energy bill per degree fahrenheit raised.

*Con:* You might have to take your sweater off when you’re indoors.

**More information**

* California Energy Commission: Consumer Energy Center
* US Department of Energy guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable energy
* Programmable thermostats from

**Related tips**

* Get a programmable thermostat
* Turn off your air conditioning at night time or when you leave the house
* Open the windows to cool off

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  1. Kerwin

    If you want to set your AC temp higher, then a good idea would be to also get an old-fashioned electric fan. It’s amazing how much cooler you will feel, even if the temperature is a bit warm inside. I did this for the first time this summer, and I love it!

  2. Gregg

    The 3% figure fails to take into consideration geographical difference. It may make more of a difference in the south and less of a difference in the north. It’ll make less of a difference during a cool summer and more of a difference during a warm summer. Provide an expected range that takes into consideration those differences.

  3. Left

    Opening windows is also a little controversial. Sure if you live in the desert or some other area of low humidity, opening the windows when it’s cool outside makes sense. But if you live in the midwest and regually breath thick humid air, you’ll be more comfortable with the windows closed and the temp at a dry 78 than you would at a muggy 75.
    Oh and absolutely get a fan, it makes 80 degree setting comfortable.

  4. Ben

    Trees make shade, which helps keep your house cool.
    Trees make houses worth more money.

  5. Lucy

    I feel cold at 78F when I am dressed light.
    I wish if someone could conduct a research to determine what is the scientifically plausible threshold temperature for different group of peope (age, weight….).
    I am hoping 82 or 84 while I know I should be the minority.

  6. michael

    ambient is a better rule of thumb…as posted above, a dry 78 is way more comfortable than a soggy 75…but I also remember swamp coolers from my days at the University of Arizona; we added humidity to feel cooler…so I suspect a couple of things…there is a wider acceptable temperature range while the humidity range is somewhat smaller. Control humidity and therefore perceived temperature…

  7. Stephanie

    Ditto the comments about not opening windows in the humid South, and the utility of fans. I have them everywhere, and a folding one in my purse. But those of us who are menopausal women may also need more cooling than others, and we’re past the stage of taking off lots of clothes. We’ll be happy to keep the temp low during winter! Bring it!

  8. Rose

    On a related note, I also read somewhere that it helps you lose weight! Our bodies are designed to regulate their own temperature, and they burn calories to do so. I read recently that ONE of the reasons for the obesity epidemic in this country (though of course there are many other contributing factors), is that people are constantly heating and cooling their environment, so the body doesn’t have a chance to do its job. (Plus of course people are staying indoors where it’s air conditioned, instead of getting out and moving around — by the way, moving air makes a HUGE difference! I can’t stand air conditioning, and I use just a fan whenever possible, and open windows when it’s cooler outside than inside. AC always makes me feel uncomfortable — I think partly because there’s so little air circulation.)
    I wish we could enact this 78-degree rule at work! At my job the policy is 72 (which is still better than the 68 it was often set at before my boss enacted the rule), and I spend the day freezing in a sweater, instead of enjoying the wonderful summer weather God gave us….

  9. Denise

    If you have medications in the house or things like saline solution for contact lenses, you should check their labels for storing temps and set your thermostat accordingly. Storing meds in an 80 degree environment when the max storage temp may ruin your medication.

  10. Michael

    The standards for conservation are so low at this site, I’m depressed. We live in Delhi. We do not use AC. Delhi is hotter by far than where most of you live. We have a good life. It was not easy at first. In the dry-heat months, we use an old fashioned water cooler. In the wet-heat months, we use ceiling fans and nature’s own solution: sweat and a cool bucket of water a couple times a day.
    If you read a little deeper, you will find that the world is in deep, deep trouble and catastrophic consequences are a real possibility. Where I live–India–is a case in point: monsoons (which farmers depend on) are getting less and less reliable; global warming will melt the ice that feeds our glacier fed rivers in about 30-40 years. Ground water will be gone before that. With more than half of this country’s one billion people barely getting enough to eat, you get the drift.
    Conservation is how we tell our children we care about them and any children they have. For us it is an act politics and faith in God and humanity. It is not easy always, but it is not as hard as you think. My eleven year old heard me say “AC” this year and quickly said, “Papa, we don’t need an AC. Our fan is enough.” And he was right.