What Should I Set My Thermostat at in the Summer?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 43 percent of your monthly utility bill is the cost of heating and cooling your home. Fortunately, there are ways to lower that percentage, even during the hot summer months. If you can be mindful of nightly temperature drops and address basic home maintenance issues like drafts, you can set your thermostat higher than you might think in the summer months and still keep your family cool and comfortable.

Step 1

Close the curtains. You can keep your thermostat at 75 degrees or higher in the summer, be cool, and save money if you keep direct sunlight out of your home during the hottest hours of the day. Replace sheers with heavier draperies during the summer months and keep them closed during the hottest hours of the day -- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Step 2

Block door drafts. Winter drafts can make our houses colder in the winter, and that same draft from an ill-fitting door can bring hot July air into your house. Use old towels or commercial draft blockers to keep the hot air out and your air-conditioned air in, and you should be able to keep your thermostat in the mid-70s and be comfortable.

Step 3

Raise the temperature at night. Take advantage of cooler summer nights and set your nightly thermostat temperature three to five degrees higher than your comfortable day temperature. Fans are cheaper to run than an air conditioner, so make sure everyone in the family has a fan in their bedroom in case the slightly higher interior temperature is uncomfortable.

Step 4

Seal against window drafts. Heavy curtains are not enough to keep hot air from your home if your window is particularly drafty. Clear film window anti-draft kits sold for winter insulation will also keep hot drafts out of your house in the summer. Follow the instructions, which include tightening the plastic film with a blow dryer. Keeping the cool air in your home and hot air outside where it belongs will allow you to set your summer thermostat much higher --75 degrees or above -- and still keep cool all summer long.