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Question of the Week: Why do you keep your home as cool (or not) as you do?

2008 June 9

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

It’s getting hot! Air conditioning makes our homes much more comfortable during hot weather, but a million air conditioners running at once have environmental impacts. A programmable thermostat helps reduce the impacts by cooling only when you need it.

Why do you keep your home as cool (or not) as you do?

Follow-up: Summary of the comments submitted for this blog entry.


En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

¡Se están calentando los días! El aire acondicionado hace los hogares más confortable durante el temporada de calor, pero el tener un millón de unidades de aire acondicionado funcionando a la vez tiene impactos ambientales. Un termostato programable ayuda a reducir los impactos al refrescar la temperatura sólo cuando realmente lo necesita.

¿Por qué enfría su casa (o no la enfría) de la manera que lo hace?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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115 Responses leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    June 16, 2008

    We have a programmable thermostat so while we’re home we keep the house at about 75 degrees and at 82 when we’re away – I also resist putting on the air conditioning as long as possible but when the humidity gets too high, I succomb. We also use heat modestly (68 when home) in the winter – both choices are for energy saving reasons and the environment rather than for cost savings.

  2. Rose permalink
    June 18, 2008

    I use fans in the dining room and master bedroom. Close blinds and windows on north east side in morning, open as shade appears. Close doors and blinds on west side as sun comes round. Keep doors and windows closed on west side till sun drops a bit. Long days in Northern Alberta make it difficult to keep houses cool. Keeping doors & windows closed if it’s cooler inside than out is key. If you are away during the day, close your blinds and open two windows on opposite ends of your home. Once outside temp drops, open everything up, and keep it open all night if you can stand it. Repeat procedure in morning (closing windows on sunny side, and opening on shady side, until outside temperature exceeds inside, then close up again, leaving a screen open on shady sides if desired. AC is needed in northern areas because of the long days. Run at comfortable day time temperature, using overhead fans as well. When leaving office, turn off AC or leave thermostat at higher setting so it doesn’t kick in unless it gets really warm. Leave a fan on to circulate air, and open a window if security allows it.

  3. L. Sue permalink
    June 19, 2008

    Now that it is extremely hot 100+ in the valleys of Southern , California, I keep my thermostat at 80-82 degrees. I use a fan when I am home. If it falls below 80, I open windows and turn the thermostat off.

    I think most stores keep the AC too cold. It is rediculous to get goose bumps when you go shopping. I get cold or hot very easily so I am very aware of temperasture changes. Store should be more aware of regulating the temperature according to the outside temp, not just have one temp for AC and another for heat.

  4. Bonnie Aylor permalink
    June 19, 2008

    I try to keep my home around 78 degrees farenheit becuase at this time I knwo that the electric company that I use does not run on clean energy and I rent so I do not have a solar panel unti at my place of residence and that cuases a huge environmental burden. Every so often the house gets too warm at 78 degrees F becuase of the two dogs, myslef, and my daughter in only 1050 sq ft of space, plus the 8 puppies right now, breathing and moving aroudn cuasing the 78 F to feel more like 80 or 85 and cuasing fatigue, so the AC will then go down to like 75, but that is usually the lowest except in teh winter when the AC is normally left off.

    Best regards,

  5. June 23, 2008

    I keep my thermostat at 78 except when I am engaged in physical activities such as cleaning then I set it at about 75-76. In the winter I keep my themostat at 55-58 depending upon the time of day. I have an electronic programmable thermostat so it is very easy to make sure that I am not heating or cooling too much. I would maintain either cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer but I have pets.

  6. Becky permalink
    July 6, 2008

    I’m with you there. I must keep the thermostat at 75-76 in the summer, and that is comfortable enough, ( even with my “hot flashes” ;) )..
    I live in Wisconsin, and the winters get quite cold, and we keep our thermostat on 70, and if it’s really cold, ( around, or below zero ) we turn it up to 72. Our house is approx. 100 years old, and in dire need of insulation. I also dress very warm in the winter, always in slippers, and a sweater or robe as well.

  7. Adrienne permalink
    July 8, 2008

    My family has never had AC – we just open the windows and turn on our box fans at night in the summer. My dad keeps the heat set in the mid-60s F in the winter – a bit chilly, but all we need to do is add another layer of clothing when cold, which is much cheaper. This summer, I have a basement apartment that is staying so wonderfully cool that I’ve needed my comforter most nights. (I’m in Central New York.)

    It bugs me that so many large buildings (offices, public buildings, and the like) are unlivable without AC. We should use smarter designs so we’d be able to do without AC for the most part in NY. It also bugs me that AC is overused – I can’t be in a grocery store for more than 10 or 15 minutes in the summer without my toes turning to ice!

  8. Maureen permalink
    August 12, 2008

    Wish I did not need air. My house gets so humid once it gets hot outside. My engineered wood floors buckled and rippled last summer (new house). I am on a slab that might be wicking ground water. Also new house are so tight air doesn’t move through them. I have to remove the floor and install laminate.

  9. Chris permalink
    November 27, 2009

    Hi, well now we are in summer…..HOT!!! here in Australia and but we go out to the beaches because we on the coast…. yeah something good but, when night comes it gets a bit cooler. I usually keep my room cooler using timber flooring less cloth material such as curtains and i also have my window facing the wind zone. I find it very cool in the morning though!


  10. debbie permalink
    May 11, 2011

    In the house sometimes it gets to 80-85. I just dont know what to do i take care of my grandson after he gets out of school. It gets so hot i was just trying to see if there is a way the air can stay on when it gets that hot. If anybody knows who i can talk to i would really appreciate it, dont think its right since we have the money for the power box we have no ceciling fans and it really gets hot in here. The fans dont even cool the house down i dont know if i should not pay my half. I just dont think it is fair for him to do this to use when i have a 4 years old child here. Please if there is something i can do it will be a blessing i cant take this heat pretty soon it will get up to 90-100. He likes to play games this is not right, i dont know what to do about this. thank you

  11. best ceiling fans permalink
    October 3, 2011

    Gets so hot here in Australia so we keep the blinds drawn to keep the direct sun out as much as we can, THen throw everything open as soon as there’s a cool breeze, box fans and ceiling fans – but they nbeed coolish air to start with.

  12. Blinds permalink
    January 31, 2013

    personally I utilize what my house has. windows! well, i just open them up more frequently then I had blinds installed to give me that shade I needed when its necessary.

  13. Diego permalink
    October 26, 2014

    There is allot of reasons why people have their air conditioners cranked up.

    Bugs / Animals get or try to get in your home with the windows and doors open or thief’s try to steal things if you live in a bad neighborhood.

    People with health problems mainly bad hearts its not good for them to get over heated.

    There just is plenty of reasons why.

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