The thermostat is how you communicate with your heating and cooling system. A simple idea on the surface. But handling thermostat settings requires a bit more planning and thought than just “raise it when it’s cold, lower it when it’s hot.” The thermostat doesn’t work like a throttle, and when it’s treated like one, it leads to energy waste, an uncomfortable house, and a potentially broken air conditioner during the summer.
We have some tips to help with your air conditioning in Colorado Springs, CO through wise thermostat settings. And we have a special warning that applies specifically to Colorado Springs—a problem we see often when servicing ACs during the summer.
Steady Settings Are Better
Moving the thermostat setting up and down during the day depending on how you feel at any moment is wasteful. As we said above, the thermostat isn’t a throttle. It’s a switch. The AC either runs or it doesn’t. When you set the thermostat to a lower temperature than the current indoor temperature, the AC will run until it meets that temperature. Keeping the temperature steady during the day when people are home means less starting and stopping for the air conditioner. Pick a comfortable temperature during the day when people are home and leave it there until the evening when people go to bed, and then raise it by 8°.
Higher Settings Are Better
If you push the thermostat down lower and lower, you won’t get cooling and faster—you’ll only keep the AC on until it reaches that temperature, which is probably too cold for the house. And when the house temperature is too low, it allows outside heat to move indoors faster, and that ends up defeating the point of having it low in the first place. The closer the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the slower the heat gain. We recommend (as does the Department of Energy) a setting of about 78°, which most people find comfortable. If this feels too warm, lower it a few settings, and then raise it one degree per day for people to acclimatize. Just make sure you heed the following caution …
SPECIAL WARNING: Don’t Lower the Thermostat Below 72°
This is a specific warning for us here in Colorado Springs that doesn’t apply to many other locations. Our altitude creates certain special conditions, and one of them is there is a higher danger of air conditioning coils freezing when set at lower temperatures. What temperature is too low? We urge you never to set the air conditioner lower than 72°F, no matter the heat outside. It’s much worse to have a frozen coil, which will prevent the AC from cooling at all, and which will require calling technicians to come defrost the coil. (Do not attempt to scrape the ice off on your own, as you may damage the coil.)
You can count on our technicians if you have an AC that can’t keep your house cool no matter what you do with the thermostat settings. The problem might be the thermostat itself. Call us 24/7 for help.
Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning serves Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Call us for your AC services this summer—we have 24-hour emergency service available.