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What Temperature Should I Set My AC to in Tampa?

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The average Tampa home racks up air conditioning costs of up to 88 cents an hour. An eight-hour-a-day AC habit can cost you a startling $211 a month for a large 5,000 BTU unit. Few households want a high air conditioning bill, but being comfortable is important. With a well-thought-out strategy, however, you can stay comfortable both physically and financially. Let’s find out how to make your air conditioner fit your pocket.

Finding the Right Temperature for Tampa

ENERGY STAR® recommends an AC setting of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature should keep your energy bills low, but may not be the most comfortable temperature for most households. Most households prefer temperatures of 72 degrees to stay comfortable. Every degree counts, though, so spend some time adjusting your unit by a degree or two each day until you find your balance. A 10-degree difference can reduce your utility bills by 10% per eight-hour day. Thus, a 74-degree thermostat setting will bring significant savings over a 72-degree setting.

Support Your Thermostat

Heat constantly enters your home through conduction, radiation, and convection. Even the coolest AC setting is useless if your home isn’t well-insulated. Adding to your home’s R-value will have a drastic effect on your pocket. Vacuum-insulated panels can deliver an R-value of 45 degrees, allowing your air conditioner to do its best work. Insulation under the floor, in the walls, and in the attic help block entry points for outside heat. Insulating your home will help your air conditioner do the best job it can.

Temperature doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Air movement also has a powerful impact on your comfort, so if you can dial up your indoor wind chill factor, you can dial back your AC setting. Ceiling fans won’t directly cool down your home but will improve your home’s airflow. Improved airflow creates improved comfort on stuffy midsummer days and creates a wind chill effect. They also move cool air around the room, annihilating warm air pockets to boot. That will help you to tolerate a warmer room. Fans cost a fraction of your HVAC system, so you’ll soon be able to spend those savings on other areas of comfort.

Keep the Sunshine Out

Radiant heat is an AC nightmare waiting to happen. Sunlight will annihilate your room temperature in mere minutes, so window treatments are more than mere decor. They can help you to tolerate a warmer AC temperature. If you see light, assume you’re feeling it, too. Those sheer bamboo blinds might look gorgeous, but they’ll raise your energy bills exponentially. Blackout drapes or screen/drape combinations will help you to tolerate a milder AC setting.

The Value of Experimentation

Turning off your AC when you’re not at home won’t necessarily save you money—quite the contrary. Air conditioners use the most energy when cooling a hot room. While it can seem like a warmer temperature setting would save you money when you aren’t home, it could actually cost you more.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to air conditioning because every individual has different temperature tolerances. You can’t find the perfect AC setting without experimenting. Once you’ve found your sweet spot, you can experiment with the setting you use when nobody’s home. Programmable thermostats make this easier by automatically adjusting your temperature according to your habits. Consider a smart product that you can control when you’re not at home.

Your air conditioner is only as effective as its maintenance routine. A clogged system restricts airflow, forcing you to use a cooler setting to achieve mediocre results. If you clean your coils and keep your refrigerant levels high, your product will make the most of its temperature setting. With a little logic and careful attention, you’ll soon be able to keep cool without emptying your pockets.



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