How Low Can I Set My Air Conditioner?

Air conditioning is all but essential in parts of the world where the summer heat reaches uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, levels.

Setting for Summer

Running an air conditioner significantly increases your energy bill.
When your house is blazing hot it's often tempting to simply set the A. C. as low as the controls will allow and enjoy the blast of refrigerated air. But you might think twice when you understand the trade-off in efficiency and that an ice-cold house comes at a significant financial toll. .

Summer is peak season for air conditioner use and you will likely see a significant increase in your energy bill over the months when the outside temperature is at its highest. Enmax, a Canadian energy company based in Calgary, estimates every degree you set your A.C. below 77 degrees F. uses between three and five percent more energy. To keep your air conditioner running as efficiently as possible keep the thermostat at or around 77 degrees, unless you're prepared to cough up for the added expense.

Setting for Winter

Even the hottest countries experience a brief respite period each year when you can turn down or switch off the air conditioning completely. Turn off the A.C. and open a window for ventilation whenever possible, especially if the outside temperature is below 65 F. Ice starts to develop on the internal parts of an air conditioner when the outside temperature is already suitably cool. Purchasing an electric fan helps to reduce your energy bill and cool your home.

Maintaining the Temperature

Maintaining your ideal temperature is fraught with obstacles; firstly, cold air has a tendency to escape by any means possible. Secondly, any source of heat in the room has a counter productive effect and works against the A.C.. Keep all windows and doors, especially ones leading outside, closed as often as possible. Turn off all heat sources such as clothes dryers and ovens if you need a quick burst of cold air.


Closing the curtains or blinds to the house helps to reflect some of the sun's heat away from your property before it has the chance to add to the overall temperature. Try combining a fan with your air conditioner if it is not hooked up to an air circulation system. For the long-term, consider planting trees near your house for shade.