Thursday, August 26, 2010

Air Conditioning - What Energy Efficient Temperature do You Use? How Low do You Go?

The one thing I struggled with during my 20% Home Energy Reduction Challenge was to find the most energy efficient temperature to use for my central air conditioner. I’m still having a hard time trying to find a recommended setting. There are tons of Websites and articles recommending which temperature to use for your furnace. Why not your air conditioner?

You’d think with a programmable thermostat that the energy efficient air conditioning settings would be preset like my furnace settings. Nope. The programmable thermostat has presets for heating (which I use) and nothing for cooling.

I'm used to not having the luxury of air conditioning. In our old rental there was a whole house fan. Between that and the ugly ceiling fan downstairs and an extra portable fan upstairs in the bedroom, we didn’t suffer until the temperature rose to 90 or the humidity got nasty.

I’ll admit, I can go without air conditioning but I don’t want to do it. If I’m either too hot or too cold I just can’t sleep at night. Besides, I've gone without AC for years which made humid allergy season miserable for me. I think I'm due for a little comfort.

This is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Blitzkrieg is another reason why we run the air conditioning sooner during the summer than later.


You walk around wearing two coats during the summer without air conditioning. I dare you.

Pekingese are very susceptible to the heat. With their double coats and smashed faces, they can easily overheat and get heatstroke. Have you ever had heatstroke? I did once; it was a miserable and scary experience. The whole IV fluid thing was extra fun because my veins collapsed. For days after my emergency room visit, I drank multiple pitchers of sports drink to rebalance my electrolytes a day. It was a losing battle because it was like pouring water through a sieve, ifyaknowwhatImean.

I’d rather not put Blitzkrieg through that thank you. Yes, I run the air conditioning more for the comfort of my dog than for me because I’m one of those people. I’m a dog mom. Judge all you want. At least I’m not robbing banks or anything like that.

I still average 15 Kwh hours of electricity a day, even with air conditioning to boot.

What temperature do you use for your air conditioning? One of my neighbors, who’s an energy miser like me, sets hers at 75 degrees. The Money Pit suggests 78 degrees.

I’m trying to keep my air conditioner set around 75 degrees, which is fine for the downstairs but a losing battle for the second story of my house. Remember that big computer I built with the super duper Energy Star rated processor that acts like a space heater under my desk during the winter? Well, it heats the office up the same way during the summer as it does during the winter. I put a portable fan in the office because the air conditioning does not cool the upstairs very well.

My computer is like having a warm campfire under my desk during the summer and the winter.

What temperature do you use for your air conditioning? Do you even use air conditioning? How do you keep cool in the summer heat?

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