Aug 5, 2022 - News

How Iowans like to keep their thermostats vs. how they should

Illustration of the sun with a thermostat dial on it.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

It has been hot as hell this week and we've all been sweatin' like a, well, you know…pig.

Driving the news: We asked readers Tuesday for their ideal home temps.

What's happening: We dug into professional recommendations to help resolve any temp wars among the people living under your roof.

  • 💰 Plus: This could save you some ham.

Of note: Temperature recommendations are generally within a range, based on personal choice.

  • Yes, and: There are factors like costs and your AC's general functionality that might influence your dial.

What they're saying: Cooling and heating costs can be reduced by as much as 10% by turning the thermostat back seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • MidAmerican Energy outlines energy usage based on a range of 72 to 82 degrees with a typical setting of 78.

Reality check: It's best not to set the thermostat lower than 70 degrees because the air conditioner could freeze up, Jason Gassmann, president of Bell Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning in Des Moines advises.

  • Turning the air off is a bad idea because a house gets humid, which forces the AC to work harder when it is turned back on, Gassmann said.

Flashback: Dial recommendations are touchy.

  • An ENERGY STAR chart that lists 78 degrees as the cool "setpoint temperature" resulted in a federal clarification after it went viral a few years ago by people complaining it was unreasonably high.
  • The advice is simply to increase temps by seven degrees when homes are unoccupied and four when sleeping.

State of play: Most of our readers prefer to keep the AC between 71 and 75.

  • At least two of you like it very cold, between 60 to 65.

The big picture: On average, Americans keep their thermostats at 71, according to a Consumer Reports survey released last year.

The bottom line: on'tday ouchtay ethay ermostatthay.

  • 🐽 Pig Latin translation: Don't touch the thermostat.
Data: Axios Des Moines survey; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios
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