A/C Thermostat Setting

What are folks thoughts on thermostat settings during the Summer? As background we live in Texas and have some fairly warm Summers. The closest I come to our thermostat is about two feet away. The boss is the controller, holder of the keys and the final word on how the thermostat is set. It’s not negotiable.

The boss keeps the thermostat set at 75 degrees. The outside temperature is 101 degrees and the indoor temperature is 82 degrees. To me 82 degrees is very uncomfortable but hey I’m just an underling here. Remember the boss holds the keys.

In my mind the A/C runs all day long so I wouldn’t think there is any savings on the electric bill. It would seem to me that if we set the thermostat at 70-72 and get the indoor temperature to that level the compressor would eventually shut off and you would save money. But who am I.

Any thoughts?

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If you set the thermostat at 75 and the AC runs all day but can’t get the house any cooler than 82, setting it lower won’t make a difference. Either way, it will run all day trying to reach a temperature it can’t achieve.

You either need a bigger AC or better insulation. Probably a bit of both.



Or maybe better windows or seal them better. We keep ours at 78 degrees and live near Las Vegas.


I live east of Round Rock. I keep my thermostat on 75/76-78, and adjust up or down a couple degrees, as needed.
If I’m physically busy, I’ll lower it to 75. If cooking, I’ll lower to 74. But, I don’t cook much when it’s hot.
78 is almost uncomfortable, but ceiling fans make it bearable?
If I leave for more than an hour, I usually raise it to 80.

The AC runs a few minutes, then off… Then repeats.
I agree that some insulation, and an AC maintenance check might benefit you?

Green Mountain is my electric provider. They’ve sent 3 emails so far “urgent! conserve electricity by raising your T to 76-78, and run ceiling fans backward”.

I already do those. So, ok.

:no_entry_sign: :ice_hockey:


We live south of Boston, so maybe hard for comparisons, but we set ours for 72 upstairs (direct vent into each room) and we have 4 mini-split units downstairs also set at 72, but running in energy saving mode, so when it’s really hot out (80’s) downstairs gets about 75 but upstairs stays pretty close to 72. When it gets into the 90’s, our house gets about 76.

We were recently heavily insulated and all cracks / joints sealed with weatherproofing material. We also have high efficiency windows and primarily a western exposure.


  • loves our AC system!!!

I seem to manage well when the indoor temperature is in the mid-70’s. We set ours to 76, currently, when we are home. The Nest thermostat ECO high temperature is set to 79, for when we are away.

I remember living in the southwest. We had a swamp cooler that managed a 20-30 degree reduction in temperature, as I recall. No experience with “refrigerated air” in a hot climate. But, if the thermostat is set to 75 and it is still 82 inside, changing the temperature lower will make no difference. 82 would be pretty warm for me, unless the humidity is really low, but fans could help.

I’m enjoying living near Lake Erie. The lake moderates the temperatures and we often get a nice cool lake breeze. The A/C has only run a couple of hours total so far this cooling season. I open the front and back door first thing in the morning and let some cool air in and might close them later if it gets too warm.

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Golfer clearly your AC is not capable of the heat load presented. As others have said, sealing things up might help. Window glass is another heat source. Close blinds short term. Close doors to all closets on exterior walls. Close doors to any room with an exterior wall that you don’t enter at least twice a day. These are short term aids.

Longer term upgrade your insulation. All the experts say the Summer of 2023 is not an outlier, rather just the latest hill top as one is crossing a mountain range of higher temperatures.

Much of Texas is normally dry and some (Houston, Victoria, etc.) is humid. Air conditioning units remove a lot more water when they are not running at the label capacity. So replace your unit with a variable speed unit.

Maintenance is important. Maybe skipping a year won’t hurt much. But it matters. To use an analogy - don’t be like a roommate is college who NEVER changed his oil — he just added another quart when the level was low.

We keep our house (North Georgia) at 75 in the summer and 72 in the winter.


Others have pointed out that if your current set up runs continuously and you can’t get to the goal temperature, then turning the thermostat down won’t matter. It doesn’t run “faster or harder”, it just runs at the same pace longer until it hits the goal - or in your case, never.

As has been suggested: seal leaks and cracks, more insulation above (and below, if appropriate), double pane windows.

Speaking of windows, if you have a lot of them, consider tinting or shading to alleviate the heat coming in. Having a company apply tinted film can be costly, but you can do it yourself if you’re moderately handy, and after you screw up one or two you’ll get the hang of it.

Quick fix: stand-alone inside air conditioner, to be used only in the room where it’s located (must have port to exhaust hot air through a window.) Very effective, but can be loud.

Adding a mini-split would be less expensive, even DIY for $1K, $3-$6K for professional installation, and can add significant capacity at relatively low cost. You need somewhere to put that big hanging white blob on the wall, tho.

Because we have a wall of South facing windows, we added motorized awnings which make a huge difference in keep the sun’s heat out when it’s at its worst. They go out on calm days only, unfortunately, but mostly when it’s cloudy it’s not so bad anyway.

Lots of things you can do, fighting over the thermostat is probably the least productive.

{Edit: You might also schedule a visit from your HVAC company to make sure your system is working at max efficiency. I’m sure they’re swamped, pardon the pun, but at the very least, go out side and see if the outside air handler is blocked by plants or pollen or something else which reduces efficiency. You can hose it off to clean it.}

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We’re going through temps in the 90s+ extremely high humidity, actually hard to breathe outside. Steamy and miserable here in South Florida too . House is kept at 80f during day ( I get cold if lower) and 76-78 at night. Have impact windows on 2 sides of house. Pull shades close to keep out sun during day… etc elect bills are sky high and getting bigger each month of this oppressive heat. Ugh

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If someone mentioned these before, my apologies.

Make sure the filter is clean/new, not clogged.

Clean the AC coils. Those in the part that is outside. There are lots of instructions to be found on the web, including videos on YouTube.


Best advice going. Most people do not hose down their units after pollen season. The pollen sticks, builds up over years, and basically insulates the fins in the unit thereby rendering them much less effective. Hose those babies down (on gentle setting) annually after pollen season!!



thats one bad heat wave we are having. I’m up in the panhandle and we have been in the 100’s for some 2-3 weeks. I keep the thermostat in the 75 to 79 degree range too. When I work outside I’ll move it up because I know that when I come in 78-79 feels good. Also, I have geothermal a/c which keeps my utilities bill down.
We are about to join ERCOT and I will have to do the choice thing for electricity. I’m not looking forward to that. Before ERCOT we have not had any blackouts due to electricity need. I don’t know what will happen when we join ERCOT and have a concern. I am thinking about a Generac generator…doc


Hi phys. I don’t really blame ERCOT. I blame the L&Ss, those above the ERCOT bureaucracy, for LACK of LEADERSHIP.
Our L&Ss leadership mission statement is:
Privatize the Gains, Socialize the costs.

ERCOT does what the L&Ss tell them to do.
We, down in ERCOT country, have not had bad brownouts or bad rolling blackouts, from my POV. LOLOL.

Our L&Ss failed to maintain and/or upgrade the TX electric grid, and now, we (society) are paying the costs: hot, sweaty, some deaths?, rolling brown/blackouts that interrupt our instant gratification expectations, etc.
Society will squeal, and the L&Ss will whine for

  • OPM, IRA $?,
  • taxes,
  • private ‘toll way type’ construction in which OPM builds the infrastructure and ‘private’ reaps the tolls.

I’m in an apartment. So, no generator, or power wall for me.
I’m gonna have to depend on Tesla Power to build out battery parks near me? LOLOL.
At least, as a TSLA shareholder, I’ll get part of those ‘tolls’?


my criticisms of the L&Ss privatizing the gains, socialize the costs are non-partisan. See the true crime story “An Unreasonable Woman” by Diane Wilson
Diane Wilson – Author. Activist. An Unreasonable Woman. (dianewilsonactivist.org)

Texas coast Shrimpers, in the mid to late 1980s (blue TX, remember that?) noted that their catch was decreasing. Diane a local conservative, discovered that the decreasing shrimp harvest was due to a (Japanese?) chemical company, that had bribed the L&Ss to allow the chemical company to dump toxin wastes into the estuaries.
Diane hated environmentalists, but found herself ‘tree hugging’, and ostracized by her family and friends.
She was arrested and jailed, did a hunger strike… this all happened in the mid to late 1980s!
Being an Unreasonable Woman, she persevered.
The book is interesting. Keep in mind that it’s HER POV.

I passed through Seadrift TX, her ville and asked about meeting her. She avoids ‘tourists’ though, and I didn’t persevere.

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Northern California, about 35 miles N of SF, similar tot he coast at Bodega Bay, normally we get an afternoon sea breeze, where Main, South of us, and Santa Rosa, North of us don’t see that, so for many years we got by with ceiling fans, and the addition of a whole house fan that we’d use in the evenings as things cooled down. Last year in the midst of a longer heat spell, we went for adding a heat pump A/C unit, so the settings have shifted a bit. winter we went with a 68° day & 64° night time settings, now with us seeing 101° so far today, the settings have shifted, for now to 74° days, but leaving the night there as well, I think… I may raise the daytime temp a bit, maybe 78°… For now, we just wanted to be sure it was operating OK in the Cooling mode…

Definitely helpful, hoping it cools this afternoon so I can get out for my walk…


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Georgia is not a hot as many places, but it is always humid. Dew point has been in the 60s most days since mid May. It actually was over 70 for the last few days. For that reason, I opted to get a HeatPump with variable output. The fan runs at a low speed, they expansion coil sits at 38F we can ring water out of the air. I do have a setting that allows me to choose up to 3 degrees of over cooling to meet my humidity target. I keep humidity 52% or lower. We have a zoned system so at night we lower the bedroom. We have a glassed in porch which is on a separate HP from out main house.

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