What Is the Best Temperature to Set My AC Thermostat At Night?


The temperature of your home has a significant impact on the level of comfort you and your family will get while sleeping at night. However, settling at the right temperature can be challenging, especially if you want to create a balance between sleeping comfort and saving energy bills.

You can adjust the temperature you want your heating and cooling devices to operate through the night by using a thermostat. One simple trick you can use to arrive at the best possible temperature is by studying your sleeping habits, preferences, and of course, the outside temperature.

But what is the ideal temperature to set your AC thermostat at night? The average temperature that most people set for their homes during the night is typically between 65 to 78°F. During the winter, it’s typically on the lower end of this range, while during the summer it’s on the higher end of this range.


What Is the Recommended Temperature for Maximum Comfort?

The level of comfort in your house is determined mostly by its inhabitants. Some may like setting the temperature at 73 degrees, while others find 75 degrees ideal for them in the same home with the same outside and inside conditions.

For maximum comfort, it is best to set your house temperature within the standard room temperature range (68 – 72°F). While trying to find the best temperature to set your home at, start by varying it within this range until you reach a value that everyone in the house is comfortable with.

You’ll often find that the ambient temperature outside limits how you can use your AC unit. That’s because the AC typically can only lower the indoor temperature by up to 20 °F compared to the outside. In other words, setting the thermostat to 65 °F will be irrelevant if the temperature outside is 100 °F.


What Is the Recommended Temperature to Save on Energy Bills?

If your goal is to save on energy bills, you should keep your thermostat set at a realistic temperature that is more in line with the outside temperatures as well.

The US Department of Energy recommends setting your temperature at 78 °F in the summer and 68 °F during the winter if you want to strike a balance between comfort and saving on your energy bill. A difference in thermostat temperature by just 7 to 10°F for 8 hours a day can reduce your energy bills by up 10% every month.

So, to save more energy, you should consider setting your temperatures as high as comfortably possible during the summer and as low as possible during the winter.

Other than the outdoor temperature, there are also other factors to consider when deciding how to set your thermostat:

  • Size of the home: The larger the square footage of your home, the higher your energy bill will be.
  • Age and health of the occupants: The young, elderly, and people with underlying health conditions usually prefer being in warmer environments. So, if you have people that fall under this category, you will have to adjust the temperature in their favor.
  • Humidity: Although not as efficiently as a dehumidifier, an air conditioner can help draw out moist air from a room. This is especially important during the summer. And if you have a moist basement, it’s smart to set the lower level units at a lower temperature to prevent mold.
  • Level of insulation: If your home is adequately insulated, heat loss to the outside environment will be limited. So, you will be able to operate at slightly higher temperatures during the summer and lower temperatures during the winter – hence reducing your energy bills.


Consider Installing a Programable Thermostat

If you want to avoid the hassle of adjusting your temperatures based on the various conditions, or having your air conditioner run unnecessarily while you’re at work, installing a programmable thermostat is the ideal solution.

A programmable thermostat will let you run a schedule for heating and cooling your house based on the outside temperature and the time of the day.

Most programmable thermostats can adjust temperature several times during the day based on your inputs. The good news is that they also allow you to bypass the automation if you want to manually adjust the temperature.

A programable thermostat will not only make it convenient for you to adjust temperatures, but it will also help you save more on your energy bill. For instance, you can automatically set it to reduce the temperatures during winter or increase them during summer later in the night while you’re sleeping; this will save a significant amount of energy.


Some Final Tips for Setting Comfortable Temperatures Without Increasing Energy Costs

  • Ensure all windows and doors are closed during the night. Having your doors and windows properly close will reduce the rate of heat loss hence lowering the need to increase temperatures during winter or lower them during summer.
  • Opt for heavier beddings during winter and lighter ones during summer to reduce your heating or cooling needs.
  • Install ceiling fans to increase cooling and heating efficiency inside the house. And make sure they spin in the correct direction depending on the season.
  • Shorten how long you use appliances and showers in the summer,  as these increase the heat in your home.
  • Replace the cooling and heating equipment in your house with energy-efficient ones. Make sure to have the ducts checked and cleaned in case there are airflow restrictions.
  • Consider installing an automated/programmable thermostat that will automatically lower or increase the temperatures in the night accordingly.


Related Questions

What is the best home temperature during the day?

If you spend time in the house during the day, you will want temperatures within or slightly outside the standard room temperature range (68 – 72°F). However, if you are away from home, the house temperature should always be set to be closer to the outside temperature so that you reduce energy consumption.


Is it expensive to install a programable thermostat?

The upfront cost of a programable thermostat is more than that of a manual one. However, when you consider the long-term benefits like the reduced energy bills and convenience (especially if most of the people in your home are away at work or school every day), installing a programmable thermostat is a much better solution.

Some popular wifi thermostats are the Google Nest or the ecobee smart thermostats.