Jul 29, 2022 - News

Reader responses: The battle over the thermostat

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

Don't touch that dial.

Driving the news: We asked readers to weigh in on their go-to thermostat settings. More than 80 of you participated in our very unscientific email survey and it turns out you have very strong feelings about the best temp.

Why it matters: Smart indoor climate control can save energy and money. But let's be real: We just love a good debate!

The big picture: Most of you prefer to keep the AC between 74 and 78 during the day and many drop it a little cooler at night — into the low 70s or upper 60s.

Yes, but: There was a big range in responses. Some of you drop the thermostat as low as 66 in the summer. On the other end of the spectrum, some readers are without AC or set the thermostat to 80 on the hottest of days.

What you're saying: Mary C. keeps her thermostat at 68 or 69. "My husband works outside all day with his landscaping crew, so we like to keep it cool for after work hours."

  • Susan C. also keeps it cool. But she got a lightweight comforter and has bumped her thermostat from 66 to 68 at night.
  • Energy costs have spiked, which is why Juliana M is keeping it between 73 and 75. "Would prefer 69!!" she told us.
  • Meanwhile, Austin P. just bumped his thermostat up to 80. "Climate change is real, y'all."

Climate was also a consideration for Heidi J.:

  • "I wish we all had a mindset of 'it's not about me, it's about the planet,'" she told us. "That being said, I keep mine at 78 on humid days but don't use central air unless it's above 80, down to 74 at night. My bill is never over $100."

Between the lines: Family factors sometimes come into play.

  • Melissa K. said prefers 76, "but my husband sometimes turns it down to 74 LIKE I WONT NOTICE 🙄 "
  • Lauren N.: "Normally our thermostat is set to 73 in the summer… but I’m pregnant and in my third trimester right now so it’s set at 68. 😅"

Our take: Totally justified, Lauren. And best wishes on your delivery.

The bottom line: There's a lot of variation when it comes to what makes a comfortable climate — and no "right" answer!

  • The federal government's Energy Star program doesn't have a recommended temperature, but the EPA recommends increasing your preferred setpoint by 7°F while out and 4°F while sleeping.
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