Your Thermostat and the Summer

Whether you use your air conditioner on a regular basis during the spring or not at all until the first heat wave of the year, you know that the summer months require a lot of work for your cooling system.

When you consider air conditioner maintenance and repairs, you may focus on the cooling components of the unit. However, your thermostat is a critical component that ensures that your air conditioner comes on and turns off automatically at the appropriate intervals to keep your home comfortable regardless of the outdoor conditions.

In this blog, we provide you with a simple guide for using your thermostat as well as identifying the need for repairs or an upgrade.

How to Optimize Your Thermostat for Summer

When the weather warms up, many homeowners simply crank up the air when necessary and leave their thermostat at whatever setting seems to produce the most air conditioner running cycles. However, this approach can be hard on your air conditioner and on your wallet.

Understand how to optimize your thermostat settings for different summer situations to ensure that you get the best performance from your cooling unit without straining your income budgeted for energy bills.

During the Day

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78℉ during the day when the weather is warm. If you have long periods of time where the house is empty, you may want to increase the temperature setting as high as 88℉.


Most climates experience cooler weather overnight. If you live in an area with low humidity, you may want to take advantage of the drop in temperature by turning off your air conditioner and using fans and natural airflow instead.

If you opt to use your cooling system, increase your temperature setting to 4℉ or higher than your daytime setting. For example, if you leave the thermostat at 78℉ while home, you would switch to 82℉ when you go to bed.

While Away

Many homeowners assume that they should turn off their air conditioner when they pack up for vacation. However, doing so can mean that you come home to a humid, stale-smelling, or even mildew-y home.

Instead, set the thermostat at least 4℉ higher than your typical overnight setting to save some money, but facilitate easing back into your usual comfort zone when you get home.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can put each of these settings into the system to ensure that the thermostat works appropriately without you having to remember. If you have a conventional thermostat, you may want to set reminders for yourself to change the settings as necessary.

When You Should Have Your Thermostat Evaluated

If your thermostat stops functioning as it should, your entire air conditioning system and the comfort of your home is put at risk. Have your thermostat assessed if you noticed:

  • Blank display

  • Inaccurate temperature readings

  • No air conditioning

  • Non-responsiveness

  • Shorter air conditioning cycles

Thermostats may exhibit these issues for a number of reasons, including faulty wiring or a dead battery. However, in extreme cases, issues with your thermostat can be an early indicator that you may need to repair or replace your cooling system, typically due to electrical issues.

Have a professional assess the thermostat as soon as possible.

Why You Should Upgrade Your Thermostat in Summer

If you notice issues with your thermostat that can’t be repaired or you want a thermostat that better meets your needs, summer is an ideal time to invest in an upgrade. Discuss your options with your HVAC contractor. Your options will depend on the type and age of your air conditioning unit.

In some cases, the layout of your home may also affect your choices in thermostat. Correct placement is critical as it prevents temperature reading issues. During this discussion, your HVAC contractor may suggest a zoned or split system if you are in need of an upgrade and a multi-zoned system suits your home.

You can handle any thermostat concerns or the desire to upgrade right away during the peak air conditioning season. Some of the reasons why summer is a good time to upgrade include:

  • Appropriate weather conditions for installation and thermostat testing

  • Immediate effect on your cooling efficiency

  • Potential access to promotions or discounts offered during the on season

Consider a programmable or smart thermostat to make optimizing comfort and energy efficiency on a daily basis simpler when you make this change.

Use the information in this guide to optimize the way that you use your thermostat to keep your home cool and comfortable this summer. If you have questions about your specific thermostat or air conditioning unit model, discuss your concerns with your HVAC contractor.

For reliable cooling services all summer long and expert HVAC services for every season, trust the team at Advanced Heating & Cooling.


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