When it gets hot during the summer, there’s always the temptation to go inside and turn up your air conditioning to stay cool. That might seem like a great way to beat the heat, but it’s not really a good idea. Not only is it going to raise your energy bills, but you won’t feel as comfortable as you’d think.

It turns out that there is a trick to staying cool and comfortable during the summer, and it requires more than just turning down your thermostat. You need to calibrate your thermostat and know the best way to program it for the summer. We recommend contacting an HVAC contractor if you have any questions or concerns about your thermostat or air conditioner, but there are still things that you can do to ensure that you stay comfortable as temperatures outside get higher.

Calibrating Your Thermostat

First of all, you need to calibrate your thermostat to make sure it’s accurate. This should be done at least once a year, but right before the summer is a great time to do it. Before you do this, first check your current calibration. Turn off your air conditioning and place a thermometer next to your thermostat. Wait 15 minutes, and check to see if the temperature on your thermometer matches what it says on your thermostat. If the temperature readings don’t match, you need to calibrate your thermostat.

If you have a programmable thermostat, your job will be very easy. Simply check your thermostat’s manual to access the calibration mode. If your thermostat doesn’t have a calibration mode, resetting it to its factory settings usually fixes any issues. On the other hand, calibrating a mechanical thermostat requires a little more work. Remove the cover over your thermostat and locate the calibration screw or adjustment lever. This is usually found near the temperature-sensing coil, although you may need to consult your owner’s manual to make sure you find it. Once you do find it, adjust the screw with a screwdriver or move the lever until the temperature on your thermostat matches the thermometer.

Finding the Optimal Temperature Setting

Once you’re sure that your thermostat’s temperature readings are accurate, it’s time to set it for optimal summer comfort. Most experts will say that the best temperature setting for your thermostat when you’re home and awake during the summer is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. That may seem high for some people, but it will still feel cooler than the hottest summer temperatures outside. It also won’t put too much strain on your HVAC system, which will help keep your utility bills low.

If 78 degrees really does feel too hot for you, you can experiment with your thermostat settings a bit. Try lowering it between two and four degrees and waiting about 15 minutes. If that still feels too hot, lower it a little more. Keep that up until you find the right temperature for your home. Just be careful about lowering it too much. Your air conditioner can’t bring the temperature in your home any lower than 20 degrees than it is outside. In other words, lowering the thermostat to 58 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s over 80 degrees outside is a waste of energy. Your home will probably start to feel too cold by that point as well.

When you’re not home, your thermostat can be brought up to about 82 degrees to save money on your energy bills. If you have a mechanical thermostat, this will likely require you to manually adjust the temperature when you leave your home for the day and when you come back at night. This is where a programmable thermostat comes in very handy. All you need to do is program your thermostat to stay at 78 degrees when you’re home and raise it when you’re away. As long as your thermostat is properly calibrated, you shouldn’t have to make any other adjustments until temperatures outside change for the fall.

Contact Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling For Assistance

If you have any issues with your thermostat or your air conditioner, Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling will be happy to assist you. Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling is a family-owned business that has provided HVAC services in Vancouver, WA and the surrounding areas since 1998. In addition to air conditioning repair and maintenance, we provide furnace repairs, indoor air quality services, and ductless heat pump installation and maintenance.

For more information about our air conditioning and heating services, contact Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling today.

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