What Is the Ideal Temperature for Home Air Conditioning in the Summer?

What Is the Ideal Temperature for Home Air Conditioning in the Summer?

During the worst of the summer months in Sacramento, it’s not uncommon to deal with temperatures above 90. This heat can be dangerous, especially for those with health conditions. Fortunately, having a home air conditioning system can help to cool down the body and allow your family to be comfortable. The question for many people is where to set their thermostat.

The Ideal Temperature Varies Depending on the Family

Each person’s preference and body temperature are a bit different from the next. While there are recommended averages, they’re not always the best option for everybody. Fortunately, they do give you a starting point. Before we reveal the ideal indoor temperature, we need to explain what “ideal” means.

Ideal, in this sense, means an indoor air temperature that is comfortable for your family while providing energy efficiency for your home. Most homeowners want to be able to strike a balance between their comfort level and how much they’re paying for electricity each month during the summertime season.

The Standard Recommendation

Many air conditioning experts recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Test this temperature out for a few days to see how your family feels. If you need your home to be cooler to be comfortable, consider decreasing the setting by one degree each day until you find the right temperature.

It’s important to note that most home centralized air conditioning units are not manufactured to cool a home below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Setting your thermostat lower will likely cause the evaporator coil to freeze up. A good rule of thumb is to set your thermostat at the highest temperature that your family feels comfortable with. This will help to reduce your energy bills as much as possible.

Optimize the Time That You’re Away

Once you figure out the most comfortable temperature for your home, you can consider optimizing your cooling resources while you’re away from it. When no one is there, such as during the daytime hours when the kids are in school and you’re at work, you should be increasing the temperature on your thermostat. This will reduce the energy usage of your air conditioning system.

Most air conditioning experts recommend increasing the thermostat temperature by about 10 degrees when you’re not at home. This would be approximately 88 degrees while you’re away. Setting the thermostat back down to 78 degrees an hour or so before your return will give your system adequate time to cool your home back down to a comfortable temperature.

It’s important to note that if you regularly set your thermostat to 75 degrees, you’ll need to adjust your “ideal away” temperature accordingly. For example, you’ll only want to set the “maximum away” temperature to 85 degrees, which is 10 degrees from your ideal at-home temperature.

Of course, you may be wondering how you can turn your thermostat back down when you’re not at home. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for that.

Consider Installing a Programmable Thermostat

If you have a fairly new home air conditioning system, it’s likely that you already have a programmable thermostat installed. However, if you have an older style of thermostat, it’s time to upgrade. Programmable thermostats are great for allowing you to set a variety of desired temperatures, depending on the time of day and day of the week.

The idea behind using a programmable thermostat is that you can simply set up your weekly schedule for when you’ll be home or gone. For example, if your family is not home between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., you’ll want to set your thermostat at a higher temperature during this time.

Have the thermostat programmed to reduce the setting to your ideal temperature about an hour before you expect to be home. Following our example above, this would mean that you would program your thermostat to reduce to 78 degrees at about 5 p.m. This way, your home air conditioning system has an hour to cool down before you arrive.

Your Home Temperature is Unlikely to Reach the Maximum

It’s not uncommon to be a bit confused when first setting the ideal temperature for times when you’re away from home. The reality is that turning up the thermostat from 78 degrees to 88 degrees simply stops your air conditioning system from running when you’re away. In most cases, your home temperature won’t jump the whole way up to 88 degrees.

Rather, it may go to a high of 81 degrees over the time period that you’re not at home. By having your thermostat reduce the temperature back to 78 degrees about an hour before you expect to arrive home, your air conditioning system will have adequate time to cool back down. Simply setting the thermostat to 88 degrees when you’re away will assist you in giving a maximum temperature that your home won’t go above.

In the rare instance that your indoor temperature does exceed the maximum of 88 degrees, the air conditioning system will kick on. This will cool your home back to 88 degrees, which is within a manageable range for your system to handle when it comes time to drop back to 78 degrees for your arrival.

Energy-Efficiency Tips for Keeping Your Home Cool

Apart from optimizing your energy usage by setting desired thermostat temperatures throughout the day, there are many other tips that you can employ to reduce your summertime energy bills. First, you should consider a whole-home dehumidifier.

While your home air conditioning system does work to remove some of the moisture from the air, it will have trouble keeping up on very humid days. You can curb this problem by installing a whole-home dehumidifier. This will remove excess moisture in the air and allow the body to feel cooler. When it’s overly humid inside, your body can feel as though it’s 2 – 8 degrees warmer than it actually is.

Ceiling fans are another great solution for reducing your energy bills. By installing ceiling fans in bedrooms and other highly trafficked areas of your home, you can help your body feel cooler than the environment actually is. Make sure that you set the fan in a counterclockwise direction, which will angle the air to blow in a downward direction. This wind chill effect will make it feel anywhere between 5 – 10 degrees colder than the temperature inside your home.

Protecting the inside of your home from direct sunlight is imperative to keeping your power bills low. Direct sunlight can heat up your home drastically in a short period of time. It’s highly advisable to block out direct sunlight with blinds or curtains.

Excellent AC Maintenance

There’s no denying the fact that Sacramento, CA, endures some very hot summer weather. Many residents rely on their home air conditioning systems to remain comfortable during the worst of the season. As long as you have a quality air conditioner contractor like Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air to rely on, you can rest assured that your summer comfort will always be within reach. In fact, we provide a full range of plumbing services as well as air conditioning, heating and indoor air quality installation, maintenance and repair. Call us today for any of these options.

How To Clean Air Conditioning Unit

How To Clean Air Conditioning Unit

If you’re like most homeowners, you have a centralized home air conditioning system that keeps your family nice and cool during the hot summer months. Just as with any other appliance that you rely on, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance that includes cleaning to ensure the longevity of the system. If you’ve never cleaned your air conditioner before or you just need a refresher, we’re going to go over the steps with you below.

Kill the Power

The first step in the cleaning process is the most important. You need to kill the power to your entire air conditioning system. You can easily do this by locating the electrical panel inside of your house. It will typically be located in the basement, laundry room, or garage. Find the circuit breaker that’s labeled “AC,” and then turn it completely off.

Start With the Inside Unit

It’s easiest to start your cleaning with the indoor air conditioner. You’ll need to remove the access panel, which is typically held in by screws or bolts. Set the panel aside and locate your evaporator coil. You’ll want to use a no-rinse evaporator coil cleaner to remove the stuck-on debris and pollutants.

Once the foaming evaporator coil drips off, it’s time to clean the lower system components. These include the drain pipe and the drain. Stuck-on debris and hard water stains can eventually clog the drain and drain pipe. Mixing up a 50/50 solution of bleach and water can help to remove this stuck-on debris.

Now, since you’ve cleaned up the entire indoor unit, it’s time to reinstall the access panel. Ensure that you don’t accidentally turn the power back on just yet. You’ll want to leave the power off until you complete the entire system cleaning process, including cleaning the outdoor unit and cleaning or replacing the inside filter.

Check Around the Outdoor Unit

A crucial part of your centralized air conditioning system is your outdoor compressor unit. As you approach the unit, you’ll want to take a look at what’s in the vicinity of it. Most of the time, homeowners will notice a buildup of debris around the appliance. You’ll want to remove that debris so that it doesn’t inhibit the airflow to and from the unit.

In addition, it’s common for tree branches or shrubs to grow near the equipment. You should be cutting these back so that there is a solid three feet of distance surrounding the whole unit and no obstructions. This will ensure that the compressor unit has proper airflow to allow your air conditioning system to run at its most efficient.

Open up the Outdoor Unit

Next, you’re ready to start cleaning the outdoor compressor unit. The unit will have a metal cover over it. You’ll need to locate the screws holding it in place and remove them. When pulling off the grille cover, realize that there are likely wires connected to a fan that’s mounted on the cover. Make sure that you don’t damage these wires when removing the cover. You may need to safely disconnect the wires to fully remove the AC grille cover.

Your cleaning is going to start with the condenser coil. Your local hardware store will likely sell a caustic solution that will remove stuck-on debris from your unit. It’s important to understand that since the condenser coils are located outside, they’re exposed to the outdoor elements. These elements can be harsh on your system’s components, which is why you’ll need a heavy-duty cleaner.

Once your condenser coil is cleaned off, it’s time to use the hose. You’ll want to squirt off the fins so that they’re clean and remove any loose debris that has found its way inside of the compressor unit. As you’re cleaning off the fins, it’s imperative that you bend any damaged fins back into their original position. For your centralized air conditioning system to work optimally, all of the fins need to be facing outward in a straight position.

In most cases, you can use a simple pair of pliers to grasp the fin and straighten it out. There’s also a specialized fin comb that you can pick up at your local hardware store. You’ll need to determine how many fins are per square inch of your air conditioning unit. This is because the fin comb sizes are constructed based on the number of fins present per square inch.

Once all the air conditioning components are cleaned off, it’s time to put the AC grille cover back on. Be sure that you tighten the screws so that it doesn’t work itself out of place in the near future. If you had to disconnect any of the wires attached to the AC grille cover to remove it, now is the time to properly reconnect them.

Finish Up Inside Your Home

You’ll want to finish up cleaning your air conditioning unit inside of your house. Start with replacing or washing your existing air filter. Air conditioner experts recommend replacing your system’s air filter every three months. One key indicator that it’s time to replace your air filter is if you can no longer see through it.

There are four main types of air filters that you can purchase for your air conditioning system. These include pleated filters, washable filters, HEPA filters, and fiberglass filters. Fiberglass filters tend to be the cheapest and perform the least amount of filtering. HEPA filters, on the other end of the spectrum, filter 99.97% of airborne pollutants but are more expensive.

Once you get your air filter replaced, it’s time to move on to your vents and ductwork. Each room in your home should have at least two different vents. These are comprised of the supply and return vents. Bigger rooms in your house may have multiples of these vents. You’ll want to pop them out and give them a good washing. It’s very common for dust and debris to get stuck on the grates of the vent.

While you have the vents popped out, it’s the perfect time to do a little cleaning of your ductwork. Your ducting runs throughout the walls of your property, so you won’t have access to all parts of your ducting. However, when your vents are out, you’ll have access to a reasonable portion of your ducting. Take a vacuum and try to remove any dirt, dust, and other debris from the ducting.

It’s highly recommended to call in a professional to clean out the entire duct system of your house every three to five years. For most people, every five years will be fine. However, for those with severe allergies, respiratory conditions, or a large number of pets, having your system cleaned every three years is ideal. This is because there’s more likelihood of dust and debris accumulating when pets are present.

Dependable AC Maintenance

If you don’t have the time or expertise to perform maintenance on your air conditioning system, then be sure to reach out to Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air. We provide quality cooling, heating, plumbing, and air filtration services to the entire Sacramento region. Call us today to schedule an appointment.