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Don’t Set Your Thermostat Too Low: Here’s Why

thermometer-going-redWhen the heat starts to climb outdoors and you’re inside your home, what do you do? You turn on the AC, of course! It’s hard to imagine making it through a long summer in Florida without the power of an air conditioner in your house. 

But we have another question: how low do you set the thermostat when you turn on your AC? If the answer is, “As low as I can stand,” you may be pushing your air conditioner beyond its limits and wasting power. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t set your thermostat too low, no matter how hot it is outside. In fact, let’s start right there…

When it gets hotter, raise the thermostat!

You may think we’ve been affected by heatstroke when you read that. Isn’t intense outdoor heat a time when you need the AC working the most? You do need the air conditioner working, but during heatwaves, you must be cautious about making the AC strain so much that it malfunctions. 

A key fact to know about your air conditioner is that it can only lower the temperature in your house by 20°F. That’s its temperature differential. If you lower the thermostat so it’s set more than 20° lower than the current outside temperature, the AC won’t be able to reach its target temperature. Instead, it will run and run, wasting larger amounts of energy and wearing down, possibly leading to it overheating and shutting down. Make sure the thermostat is set within the temperature differential zone to avoid overworking the air conditioner.

The lower limit

Even when the temperature outside isn’t at heatwave levels, we recommend you don’t lower the AC’s setting below 68°F. This temperature is already more than cool enough for most people, and many will find it too cold. An AC set this low is in danger of having its coil freeze—and that’s bad news because it means the air conditioner will not be able to absorb more heat from the air through the coil and the system will need repairs. 

Heat gain

Now that we’ve gotten through two major warnings, we want to talk about why raising the thermostat can help with cooling your house and saving energy. The bigger the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the faster heat from outside will enter the home. This is called heat gain. When you raise the thermostat as high as you find comfortable, you slow down heat gain and help keep the house cooler for longer. So when it’s 100°F outdoors, put the thermostat up to 80°F and you’ll slow down heat gain and give the AC critical breaks. 

The ideal thermostat setting

Is there an ideal thermostat setting for your air conditioning in Spring Hill, FL during most of the summer? Yes, there is: 78°F during the day when people are home, and around 86°F at night or when the house is empty. This can combat most hot days and it’s comfortable for the majority of people. You’ll save energy and help the AC make it through the summer without major problems. You’ll have lower electrical bills as well. 

Experience the Balanced Air, Inc. difference! If your AC won’t cool your house enough, let us take care of it.

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