The EPA and the Department of Energy chose this number in order to save resources; they're also suggesting an even higher temperature while you sleep.
Woman laying down on sofa in living room with air conditioner
Credit: Getty Images

In the midst of a very hot week for most of the country, you may be spending most of your time indoors with a cool glass of water in hand, comfortably camped in front of your air conditioning unit. You wouldn't be the only one, either; USA Today reports that most states are using more energy and resources than ever—Texas just had a record high month in July—to keep cool. And since most meteorologists are forecasting an unseasonably hot fall season, you may be wondering just how cool you should be keeping your home in the meantime.

New recommendations from Energy Star, a federal efficiency program spearheaded by officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, contains an optimal temperature for thermostats to avoid additional overuse of energy resources in your local state. According to Energy Star, you should set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible throughout the rest of the summer—at an optimal 78 degrees, to be exact. 

While EPA and DoE experts say this temperature is best during the day when you're at home, they suggest raising it further to 82 degrees while you sleep, especially if you have a ceiling fan or other device to keep air moving.

What about when you're not home or when you head out for a vacation, you might ask? The best way to keep your home sufficiently cooled while preserving resources is to set your thermostat to 85 degrees, which should prevent excessive heat outside from affecting any of your interior features. "Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner," the guidelines suggest. "It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense."

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
August 20, 2019
I live in Dallas Texas. First off -we are hot right now but no where how it normally is. We could be in day 50 of triple digit heat and we aren’t. I have NOT heard one news station tell people to DO this with your AC. NOT ONE. First off -people can have heat related issues and shouldn’t be following these directions anyways. Especially when your neighbors have their ac on 60 degrees running non stop since April. And every restaurant in town keeps it on 60 during the summer months. It is way to hot to have just a ceiling fan going any time of the day. This may work in the Hamptons but NOT in Texas. And it is more taxing to turn your AC up so high 82-85 during the day so when people get home in the evenings when everyone is taxing the system at one time turning the AC down to a coolish temp. It will be running all night long. This is what causes brown outs b/c everyone is trying to cool their houses down at the same time. It is also hottest part of the day here between 5-6pm. This is the most irresponsible article I have read. This may work during a northern summer. And written by someone who has never been to Texas in the summer either. Just keep your house a moderate temp day and night. You won’t tax the system and you can keep your house in a coolish range. You don’t have to sweat like a pig either.