What Temperature Should You Set Your Air Conditioner in Summer?

Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

As the summer heat intensifies, finding the right balance between comfort and energy efficiency becomes more important than ever.

This comprehensive guide will instruct you on the ideal temperature to set your air conditioner during the hot summer months while taking into account factors such as room size, humidity, and personal preferences.

We will also discuss the health risks associated with high temperatures and provide essential tips and tricks to ensure you stay cool and energy-efficient throughout the season.

Health Risks of Hot Temperatures

Before delving into the ideal air conditioner temperature, let’s first discuss the potential health risks that come with excessive heat during summer. High temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration.

By maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature, you can significantly reduce the risk of these health issues.

Factors Affecting the Ideal Air Conditioner Temperature

When setting your air conditioner, several factors influence the ideal temperature, making it crucial to consider them before settling for a specific setting. These factors include:

1. Room Size

To determine the ideal air conditioner temperature, room size is a critical factor to consider. A small room requires less cooling compared to a larger space.

In general, a room measuring 150-350 square feet requires an air conditioning unit with a capacity of 5,000-8,000 BTUs.

A larger room of up to 550 square feet will require an AC unit with a capacity of 12,000 BTUs.

2. Humidity Levels

Humidity levels also play a significant role in determining the ideal air conditioner temperature. In areas with high humidity, a lower temperature setting may be required to achieve maximum comfort.

This is because high humidity levels can make the air feel warmer than it actually is, making it more uncomfortable for occupants. Ideally, maintaining a humidity level of 30-50% is recommended for optimum comfort.

3. Personal Preferences and Comfort Levels

Personal preferences and comfort levels vary from one individual to another. Some people prefer cooler indoor temperatures, while others prefer a slightly warmer setting.

However, the recommended temperature range for maximum comfort and energy efficiency during summer is between 72-78°F.

4. Presence of Vulnerable Individuals (infants, elderly, etc.)

Finally, the presence of vulnerable individuals, such as infants, elderly individuals, and those with underlying health conditions, should also be considered when setting the air conditioner temperature.

These individuals may be more sensitive to temperature variations and require a slightly cooler indoor environment for optimum comfort and health.

Recommended Temperature Settings

According to the U.S Department of Energy, the recommended thermostat setting for air conditioners during summer is 78°F (25.5°C) while at home and slightly higher while away or asleep. However, finding the perfect balance between comfort and energy-saving may require some experimentation based on the factors discussed earlier.

Energy Conservation Methods

In addition to setting the ideal air conditioner temperature, implementing energy conservation methods is crucial for optimal comfort and energy efficiency during the summer months. Here are some methods to consider:

1. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Investing in a programmable thermostat allows you to set a desired temperature range for various times of the day. For example, you can set the temperature higher when you are away or asleep and lower when you are at home.

This method ensures that you use your air conditioning system only when needed, reducing energy wastage and ultimately lowering your energy bills.

2. Close Curtains and Shades During the Day

Sunlight entering your home through windows and doors can significantly increase indoor temperatures, making your air conditioning system work harder than necessary.

Closing curtains and shades during the day blocks out the sunlight, reduces heat gain, and keeps your home cooler.

3. Regular Maintenance of Your Air Conditioning System

Regular maintenance of your air conditioning system helps to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency. Dirty or clogged air filters reduce airflow, making your system work harder and consume more energy.

Regularly cleaning or replacing filters ensures adequate airflow, reduces energy consumption, and prolongs the lifespan of your air conditioning system.

4. Clean or Replace Filters Frequently

As mentioned earlier, dirty filters reduce airflow, making your system work harder and consume more energy.

Cleaning or replacing filters every 1-3 months, depending on usage, ensures optimal airflow and energy efficiency.

Optimizing the Use of Specific Air Conditioning Brands or Models

Different air conditioning systems come with a variety of features and settings that can help maximize energy efficiency. For instance, some brands may offer an Eco Mode setting which automatically adjusts the temperature according to the room’s humidity levels.

This feature helps maintain comfort while also conserving energy. Other air conditioning systems may have a fan-only setting which helps circulate the air without cooling it, reducing energy consumption.

Before investing in a new air conditioning system, homeowners should investigate their options to ensure they are purchasing an energy-efficient model.

In addition, many state and local governments offer incentives for purchasing and installing Energy Star-certified models, helping reduce upfront costs.

How ceiling fans can help

Ceiling fans can also help reduce the strain on your air conditioner by circulating air around the room. This will make it feel cooler without actually affecting the temperature in the house.

What to do when you’re out?

When you’re out of the home, it’s important to turn off or raise the temperature of your AC. This will prevent energy from being wasted while also preventing mold and dust buildup that can occur when temperatures are too low.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As you strive to achieve maximum comfort and energy efficiency during the summer months, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can undermine your efforts. Here are some details and facts to help you better understand the errors to avoid:

1. Setting the thermostat too low can increase your energy consumption significantly

For every degree that you lower your thermostat, you can expect to increase your energy bill by up to 3%.

While it may be tempting to crank up the AC during extreme heat, doing so will likely result in higher energy bills and unnecessary strain on your air conditioning system.

2. Neglecting to adjust the temperature before leaving or going to sleep can also lead to increased energy consumption and wasted resources.

By setting your thermostat higher while you’re away or asleep, you can conserve energy while still maintaining a comfortable temperature when you’re at home.

3. Failing to maintain and clean your air conditioning equipment can reduce its efficiency and lifespan.

Dirty air filters, clogged condenser coils, and other issues can reduce the airflow and strain your air conditioning system, leading to increased energy consumption and the need for costly repairs or replacements.

By avoiding these mistakes and following the tips and recommendations outlined in this guide, you can achieve optimal comfort and energy efficiency during the summer months.

Remember to consider factors such as room size, humidity levels, personal preferences, and the presence of vulnerable individuals when setting your air conditioner temperature.

Regular maintenance, the use of energy conservation methods, and the optimization of specific air conditioning brands or models can also help you achieve maximum efficiency and comfort.


Understanding the ideal temperature for your air conditioner during the summer months is critical for both your comfort and energy efficiency. Keep in mind the factors that affect the ideal temperature setting and be mindful of the recommended settings.

Furthermore, employ energy conservation methods and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for optimizing your air conditioning system’s performance. Stay cool and save energy throughout the sweltering summer months.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I reduce the need for air conditioning during summer?

You can adopt several methods, like using fans, closing blinds during the day, and using energy-efficient appliances to minimize heat generation inside your home.

How does humidity affect the ideal temperature setting?

High humidity can make temperatures feel hotter, so you may need to lower your temperature setting to achieve your desired comfort. Dehumidifiers and air conditioning systems with built-in dehumidifiers can help maintain a comfortable humidity level.

When should I replace my air conditioner unit?

Most air conditioner units last between  10-15 years. If your unit is older than this, it might be time to replace it with a newer and more energy efficient model. It’s also important to have regular maintenance performed on your air conditioner to keep it running optimally.

What is the best temperature to set my air conditioner?

The ideal temperature setting for your air conditioner during summer months varies by individual and climate, but typically ranges between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit (22-26 degrees Celsius). It’s important to consider factors like humidity, outside temperatures, and size of the room when determining your ideal temperature setting.
You should also take into account energy-saving features, like Eco Mode settings, to help maximize energy efficiency.

How often should I change the air filter?

You should regularly check and replace your air filter to ensure optimal performance of your air conditioner. Depending on the type of filter, most manufacturers recommend replacing it every 1-3 months. If you have pets or allergies, you may need to replace it more frequently.
In addition, regularly cleaning the condenser unit can help increase efficiency and longevity of your air conditioner.

Are there any government incentives for buying energy-efficient air conditioners?

Yes, many state and local governments offer incentives for purchasing and installing Energy Star-certified models, helping reduce upfront costs. Additionally, some utility companies offer rebates for new air conditioning systems. Contact your local government or utility company to learn more about these potential incentives.