Aug 9, 2022 - News

The great thermostat battle

Illustration of a fan blowing on the sun.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

As a friendly seasonal reminder, we recently noted that the Department of Energy advises keeping your thermostat at an average of 78 degrees during the summer.

Reality check: Not knowing how many people actually do that, we surveyed our readers to find out where they usually keep it. The 379 readers who took our survey mostly said they keep their summer thermostat below 77.

  • Only 24% of respondents said they keep it at 77 or higher.
  • The biggest group — 63% — said they keep between 71 and 76.
  • And 13% said they go lower than 71. Brrrrr!

What you're saying: Several readers also wrote in to offer a more nuanced picture of their cooling strategies:

  • Chuck C.: "We set our summer thermostat to 75 during the days, and bring it down to 72 starting at 11:30pm to help us sleep better. It goes back up to 75 around 5:30am."
  • Iain A.: "I don't have central air, so I can't really do the survey. I have a small house and use a window unit when it's exceptionally hot; 78 is uncomfortably warm, but usually not enough to make me turn on the AC unless my kids are here."
  • Katie P.: "I change it depending on the time of day. It's 76 at night, and 80 during the day. But my first-floor apartment in the middle of the block stays pretty cool by itself — it usually doesn't go above 78."
  • Jen P.: "I find that assuming that every building's 78 is the same may be wrong. My house is very comfortable at 78 (it's well insulated), but my office, a big former billiards hall full of concrete, would be roasting at 78. I would argue that the temp is situational."

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