What Temperature Should I Set the Thermostat in My House?

Determining the Correct Temperature Setting for Summer in Sacramento

What temperatures should you keep it in your home during the summer?  That’s what we are going to be talking about on this blog post.

When moving to a new home or just using your central AC for the first time you may want to know the temperature you should keep it at in your home during the summer.  There are a few answers depending on who you ask.  So let’s talk about those differences now.

Energy Star

Energy Star is a voluntary program led by the EPA and Dept. of Energy that helps business and people figure out ways to save money on their electric bills.  Energy Star says you should keep it at 78 in your house.  They also say you should keep the temps at 84 degrees when you’re not at home.

Energy Star rated thermostats already have these predetermined temperatures set in them.  You’re able to adjust those temps whenever and however you choose as the owner of the thermostat.

SMUD and PG&E are our local utility providers.  SMUD follows the US Department of Energy when they suggest setting your thermostats at 78 degrees when you are home and setting it up to 10 degrees higher for those times when you are not at home.

What Could Go Wrong?

What I wouldn’t do is set the temperature all the way down to the lowest setting when you want the air conditioning on.  Several things can go wrong here, and it doesn’t get cooler any faster in the house when you do this.  What can happen is you forget to turn the thermostat back off when your done needing cool air.  This leads to sky-high electric bills and a home that sees extreme temperature changes throughout the day.

So what temperature should I keep it at?  It’s simple: whatever temperature you want it to be at.  Let’s say the temperature on your thermostat says it’s 78 degrees in your home. Are you comfortable?  If not try lowering the temperature one to two degrees and see if that makes a difference.  Still not satisfied?  Set the temperature down even more.  If you find yourself the most comfortable at 74 degrees, then so be it.  You’re the king of your castle and you can set to wherever you feel the most comfortable.

For example, I work in the HVAC industry.  In the summer, I spend long hot days fixing other people’s AC systems.  By the time I get home, all I want is a nice cool place to sit and relax.  I usually want it about 72 degrees in the home.  My co-workers sometimes want it down to 68 degrees!  Other folks who may work inside, in normal environments where temperatures aren’t soaring around 120 degrees are just fine with their home temps at or above 78 degrees.

How the different temps affect your electric bill

Be Aware

A person who keeps their AC at 78 degrees in his or her home will have their AC come on less than a person who desires it to be 68 degrees in their house.  Your AC is the most expensive thing to run in your house, and that’s a pretty big spread too between 68 and 78 inside the home.  Typically, a person who keeps their system at 74 degrees and then starts setting it at 78 degrees can expect to save about 25 to 35 dollars a month on their bill.  Over the length of the entire summer, that money adds up!

Saving Money

Consider buying a thermostat that sets back at predetermined times.  Energy Star says it can save you $180 a year by switching to a setback type thermostat.   This allows you to set your thermostat for times of the day when you are coming and going.  For instance, the Honeywell thermostats we use want to know what time you wake up, what time you go to work, what time you come home, and what time you go to bed.  These four major events in your family’s daily lives can determine what temperature it will be in the house.

At Fox Family, we can easily set a program for it for the weekdays and then set it for the weekends.  Folks who are in their homes for the majority of the day, or don’t have a schedule where they work during the week can set it up for just what time you wake up and what time you go to bed.  Really any combination is available as Honeywell lets you decide on your terms.

A Helping Hand

And if you have one of these programmable thermostats, and you don’t feel comfortable setting a program on the thermostat, call or text us and we’ll come out and show you how to do it.  It really doesn’t matter which brand of thermostat it is either.  We’re familiar with all different types of them, and we just want to make sure you’re comfy in your home.


I hope this answers your question as to what temperature to set your thermostat in the summer.  These sunny and hot Sacramento summers can really drive you bonkers with the fact that we need to cool ourselves and our homes down.  Set it to whatever you are comfortable at, and that’s the right temperature.  Just remember that as long as your AC is on, your electric usage goes up.  And somebody’s gotta pay for that.

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Thanks so much for watching and we’ll see you on the next video!

Don’t miss our YouTube video on this topic:

What is a Wi-Fi Thermostat?

choosing a smart thermostat

Wi-Fi Thermostats Hit the Market in Sacramento

One of the coolest things to hit the HVAC market is Wi-Fi thermostats.  As you can imagine, these are not your normal thermostats, but at the same time, they act much like the thermostats you are already used to.  You know, like the white box the new home builders hung on your wall?  Smart thermostats, or Wi-Fi thermostats, use a wireless internet connection in your home to speak with your new Wi-Fi thermostat.  Any tablet, phone, or other smart device can link right up to a smart thermostat, too, making it very usable for everyone in the family.  A lot of these Wi-Fi thermostats have a learning feature on them that recognizes your daily routine.

Choosing a “smart thermostat” is not that hard.  You can find them in the big box hardware stores, on Amazon and other electronics retail outlets online, or at the brick and mortar stores.  Fox Family Heating and Air sells these thermostats as well if you need professional installation of your new Wi-Fi thermostat.

Choosing a Model

I tell people to find one that you like to look at first.  I personally love the look of the Honeywell 9000 Wi-Fi thermostat.  It’s got a vivid color display, with big numbers so you can see them clearly.  It also shows you the indoor temperature and humidity levels in the home as well as outside, using your local internet weather station.  Consumer Reports rated it the easiest to understand and use when out and about.

In a recent storm, we lost power.  Of course, the thermostat shut down too, right?  Later, when the lights came back on, the thermostat picked right back where it left off when the power went out.  That’s really convenient to not have to reprogram everything in the thermostat in situations like that.

Smart Technology

My favorite thing about a smart or Wi-Fi thermostat is that you can use it with your smart phone from wherever you are in the world, as long as there is a Wi-Fi or phone signal around.  When you’re in bed and it’s too chilly, grab your phone and adjust the temperature if you want to.  If you are leaving work and your home is 80° inside during the summer, just grab your phone and set it to 75° so it will be nice and cool for you when you get home.  That’s so convenient, isn’t it? — programming the schedule so the thermostat knows your routine, as you like it, not the thermostat’s understanding of your schedule.  For practical reasons, still, I like to be able to set up the days of the week and let it know what time I wake up, go to work, come home from work, and when I go to bed.

There are several other models on the market that also utilize wireless technology.  Some of my favorite Wi-Fi thermostats, based on aesthetics and operation, are:

  1. Honeywell 9000 Wi-Fi
  2. Honeywell IAQ Wi-Fi
  3. Ecobee 3 Lite
  4. Nest Thermostat
  5. Emerson Sensi

White Rogers, Lux, Braeburn, and Aprilaire are other suggestions for top name brand Wi-Fi thermostats.

Cost Savings: What to Expect

A lot of people think they will save a lot of money using their new Wi-Fi thermostat, but it realistically won’t save that much money.  I say this because so many people who have regular thermostats already use the programmed schedule on it.   Smart thermostats will cost more money than regular thermostats just because the technology is a little more advanced.  I would say today, in 2019, you can find a Wi-Fi thermostat for anywhere from $100 to $250.  Nest and Honeywell make up those more expensive ones, whereas lesser know names like Emerson Sensi and Lux Wi-Fi thermostats can sell it at a lower price.  Lower price is great of course, but I truly believe the display on the Honeywell 9000 has the best screen of them all, AND you can change the colors on the backscreen to match the color of your home’s interior or get crazy and light it up with fluorescent colors!  Totally fun!


Now that you know what a Wi-Fi thermostat is, maybe go out to the big box stores and check a few of them out.  Now, installing those thermostats is another topic.  But I will say this about installing these.  The majority of the problems that come with the installation of the new thermostat involve the common wire not being hooked up to the control board at the furnace and running to the C terminal on the base of the Wi-Fi thermostat, where it mounts on the wall.  Check out my video on YouTube where we discuss this common wire situation.

Professional Installation Services

I hope you get your Wi-Fi thermostat soon!  If you need any help installing yours in the Sacramento area or you can’t figure out the common wire issue, give us a call and we’ll help finish installing it for you.  Our phone number at Fox Family Heating and Air is 916-877-1577.  Thanks so much for reading this today and as always, stay here for more excellent HVAC content.

Don’t miss our video related to this topic: