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With the forecast this week calling for highs in the 70s and 80s, it won’t be long before those 90s start to creep in.  Anyone who lives in Austin or anywhere in Texas knows the summer months can be brutally hot and humid.  Hopefully you’ve already had your HVAC system serviced so it will operate efficiently.  Now, where to set the thermostat so your family enjoys comfort while keeping costs in check?

A degree or two really doesn’t make any difference, does it?  Actually it makes a substantial difference. During the summer months, setting your thermostat one degree lower can increase the energy your HVAC system uses by about 6-12%.  Why is this?  If you set your thermostat to 68 degrees your system will run longer to reach that temperature than it would to cool your home to 72 degrees.

So what is the ideal setting for your thermostat?  This number will be different depending on a number of factors including how efficient your air conditioner is, what type of system you have, and your comfort preferences.  Ideally, the perfect setting is about 72 degrees, but if you’re comfortable at 74 or even 78 degrees, go for it!  You’ll save money on energy costs – and your system won’t have to work so hard.

It’s also important to set the thermostat to a higher temperature when you’re away at work; there’s no reason to keep your home super cool when there’s no one there to enjoy it.  If you don’t have one, a programmable thermostat is well worth the investment and will help you enjoy even more savings.

In addition to finding the “sweet spot” on your thermostat there are other things you can do to keep your cool when temperatures soar outdoors.  Here are a few suggestions:

When it comes to your clothing, choose cotton and linen.  These fabrics “breathe” rather than holding heat inside like synthetics and polyester do.  Light weight cotton choices will leave you feeling cooler.

Which direction your ceiling fan blades rotate matters.  Your ceiling fans should rotate in a counterclockwise direction during the summer months, as this direction pushes the cool air created by your HVAC system downward.  Even if it’s 75 degrees according to the thermostat, the ceiling fan will help evaporate the sweat on your skin, making you feel cooler than the actual room temperature.

If your HVAC system is old, consider a modern, more efficient system.  All heating and cooling systems decline in efficiency as they get older.  If yours is 10, 12 or 15 years old, it’s probably time to upgrade.  You’ll save money over the long run!

At Schneider Mechanical our top priority is helping home and business owners in the Austin area enjoy comfort during the hot summer months while keeping costs to a minimum.  Give us a call today!