Are you constantly readjusting the thermostat in your home all summer long, trying to find the right temperature that makes you feel comfortable despite the heat outside? If you keep going between "a little too hot" and "too cold," without ever finding the right spot in the middle, the problem may not be with your air conditioner. Worse, continuing to adjust the temperature up and down may be putting unnecessary strain on your AC system as a whole. Here's what you should know.
The perfect indoor temperature may be higher than you think.
Experts suggest that the ideal indoor temperature during air conditioner season is no lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to maximize your home's energy efficiency, at least during the daylight hours. Nighttime is a different situation—temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit are known to disrupt sleep. Most studies recommend lowering the nighttime temp to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit instead.
The humidity level, not the heat, is what makes you uncomfortable.
What makes people feel uncomfortable in the daytime at a higher temperature isn't really the heat—it's the humidity. High-efficiency homes, which are sealed up tighter than homes in the past, tend to trap humidity inside—in the summer, heat builds up inside a house and the humid atmosphere is what makes people feel sweaty and warm at the same temperatures that they're comfortable in during the winter months or while outside. Ideally, indoor humidity levels should be about 45 percent. Anything higher than that is what will start people reaching for the thermostat because the air gets a sticky or "muggy" feeling to it.
The solution is to add a component to your air conditioner.
Contact your air conditioning service company to discuss the addition of a whole-home dehumidifier to your home. The dehumidifier can usually be installed on your existing unit, or you can have it installed with a new system. A dehumidifier attached to a central air unit can monitor your home's indoor humidity levels automatically and make adjustments to keep the air's moisture levels at an even consistency both day and night, making a slightly warmer temperature more comfortable. In return, your AC unit won't have to work as hard, or run as much.
The average cost for a whole house dehumidifier is between $900-$1200. While you can use portable dehumidifiers instead, which are less expensive, they also lack power and only work for the rooms in which they're located.
For more information on how you can stop adjusting controls on your AC unit with each shift in the weather, talk with a local air conditioner installation contractor.