You’ve been longing for summer, but now that it’s here, you may be dreading the arrival of your power bill. One way to save money and maintain habitable temperatures in your home is to follow recommended thermostat settings for summer.

The US Department of Energy recommends the following thermostat settings for summer:

house and scale energy efficiency conceptHome. When you’re home, set your thermostat temperature as high as you can stand it without compromising your comfort. The Department of Energy suggests 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If the system is running less, it’s using less energy and costing you less money. While turning off your A/C is also an option, it may end up costing you more money in the long run. When your A/C is off, the insulation in your walls soaks up the exterior heat. When you turn your A/C back on, it has to work harder to cool your house and walls. Keeping your A/C at a higher temperature helps maintain temperatures in your home without the A/C having to work as hard.

Away. When you’re away, set the thermostat at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the Department of Energy, turning up the thermostat seven to ten degrees for eight hours every day can help you save as much as ten percent a year. This will work best and provide the biggest payoff in temperate climates that won’t need as much cooling once you return home. When you get home and enter a hot house, you may be tempted to crank up the A/C more than usual in an effort to cool off quicker. Don’t—it will cost you more in the long run and won’t speed up the cooling of your home.

hand setting room temperature on programmable thermostatProgrammable thermostats. The easiest way to ensure your thermostat temperature is at the most efficient setting is to use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats automatically adjust the temperature based on programmed settings on a timer. You can customize settings around sleeping, waking, and work hours, but they can be disabled at any time, and you can also use it as you as you would any other thermostat.

Other solutions. Outside of these suggested thermostat settings, there are a few other ways you can keep your air conditioning bill low. During the day, window treatments and coverings can improve efficiency by keeping the sun, and thus the heat, out of your home. Fans can also be immensely helpful in battling the heat. The use of ceiling fans allows you to raise the thermostat approximately four degrees Fahrenheit without reducing comfort levels, but be sure to turn them off when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms.

Use these suggestions as a guideline to plan your thermostat settings within your comfort zone. By following the most efficient thermostat settings, you can increase your energy efficiency while lowering your costs.

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