The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metroplex is aptly nicknamed the Valley of the Sun. This time of year, you might call it the valley of the scorching hot, asphalt melting, late summer sun. The temperature dial hovers closer to 110 degrees than 100, and your air conditioner works overtime to keep your house cool. Phoenix residents note a sharp increase in their electric bill during the hottest months of summer – August and September. This often sparks something we in the AC biz call “thermostat wars.” One family member, with a desire to keep cool, turns the AC on full blast while another, more fiscally minded individual, pushes the thermostat up to eight-zero. With indoor temperatures set at 80 degrees and above, some family members may get testy.
Energy Star Raises Eyebrows with Recommendation
The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly created the Energy Star program to protect our environment and promote energy efficiency. Energy Star recommendations for thermostat settings include going no lower than 78 degrees during daytime when you are home, 85 degrees when the house is empty and, this one caused controversy, 82 degrees at night when you are sleeping. Many people protested that 82 degrees is simply too warm for restful sleeping. Since getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to surviving the exhausting summer heat in Phoenix, many people raised objections to this government guideline.
Staying Comfortable vs. Soaring Utility Bills
Whether you choose to follow the Energy Star guidelines or create your own, it is a generally accepted fact that for every one degree higher you set your thermostat, you can look forward to a three percent savings on your electric bill. A further factor to consider – it requires more energy to lower the temperature inside your home when the outside temperatures are exceeding 100, 105 or even 110 degrees. Your AC unit will need to run longer and will use more energy when cooling from 100+ down to 78 degrees, or whatever temperature you choose. Here are a few helpful hints on ways to win the thermostat challenge:
Install a Smart Thermostat
Wi-fi enabled, smart thermostats will pay for themselves over time by saving you money on your utility bills. Smart thermostats are easily programmable, learn your habits and tendencies, can be accessed from your phone or mobile device and make it much easier to adjust your thermostat settings throughout the day and night. Once you start using a smart thermostat, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to have one installed.
Mind Over Temperature Matters
Many Phoenix homeowners are stuck on a particular temperature setting and won’t budge. However, the human body is capable of acclimating to warmer temperatures – the secret is to take it slowly. As an experiment, try setting the thermostat one degree higher and live with it for a few days. See if you truly notice a difference once your body has had time to adjust.
Is Your Fan Properly Set?
The key to living with higher indoor temperatures is making sure you have plenty of fans circulating the air throughout your house. Ceiling fans are a must. You want your ceiling fan set to rotate counterclockwise, so the blades push the air straight down. Small portable fans in the bedroom or living room can help create a comfortable breeze.
You Debate the Thermostat Setting – We’ll Make Sure Your AC Is Working Properly
We’ve been in the business for decades, and here’s what we’ve learned. If there’s more than one person in a household, there’s bound to be discussion (translation: disagreement) about temperature settings. The key to a happy household is to make sure your AC is functioning properly, spreading cool comfort evenly to every room in your home. August and September push your air conditioner to the limits. If you are experiencing any problems with your air conditioner, please give us a call.