78 Degrees?

By Larry Teller

What temperature do you set on your house thermostat during these sultry summer days? (To clarify, I’m asking about the times of the day and week when you’re home but don’t have guests.)

I believe in 78 degree, and here’s why:

  • It feels fine to me, especially when coming into the house on a hot, muggy day (Contrast is often what counts in life),
  • The other day, when the air conditioner maintenance guy was leaving, and resetting the thermostat, he asked, simply, “78 degree?” He has no incentive to make me sweat, right?
  • My own agency offers energy-saving/pollution reduction tips for the cooling season, including
  1. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
  2. Use ceiling fans instead of, or when needed, to supplement air conditioning,
  3. Close shade and blinds when you can,
  4. Check and replace air conditioner filters,
  5. Plug duct leaks, and (here comes my favorite),
  6. Set your thermostat higher when no one is home, and program it around your schedule

Unfortunately, I’m often the only one in the house who agrees that 78 degree is about right. (Could it be because I pay the bills each month, and $400+ gas and electric bills in the summer make me cry?) You can imagine how righteous-but-weird I feel when I’m moved to sneak a hand around a living room wall corner, or do a tip-toe walk down the stairs at night, to raise the thermostat a degree or two. Logic and charm haven’t (yet?)helped in my house and, so, stealth is often the only approach available.

How do you handle this in your house? Advice is welcome.

About the author: Larry Teller joined EPA’s Philadelphia office in its early months and has worked in environmental assessment, state and congressional liaison, enforcement, and communications. His 28 years with the U.S. Air Force, most as a reservist, give him a different look at government service.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations 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 post.