Most US households pay 40% of their energy bill toward cooling costs. This is a major chunk of change, so it makes sense to try to cut back on AC when possible. However, it’s important to find a happy medium, because letting a space get too hot can spell disaster.
Hot temperatures can be dangerous for workers and impact the efficiency of your project. In some cases, our clients don’t maintain the temperature in their space properly and overcompensate by setting the temperature so low that it freezes up the unit.
To avoid mishaps like this, it’s a good idea to formulate a plan early in the season so you’re aware of what your cooling needs will be.
Setting the thermostat to the right temperature at your home, business, or construction site can save you money. Taking steps to find the optimal range means weighing a number of factors in order to find the right cooling plan for you and your workers.
Optimal Temperature Depends on a Number of Factors
Humidity: When you’re feeling hot, humidity is a major culprit. The moment your skin temperature reaches 98.6°, you will start to sweat. In dry conditions, your sweat evaporates right away and you feel comfortable. However, humidity impedes the evaporation process. An 80° day feels like 80° when the relative humidity is 40%, but when the humidity rises, it’s harder for your sweat to evaporate, since there’s more water vapor in the air. This is why an 80° day with 90% humidity feels like 86°.
How Often You Are In and Out: When your space is empty, the temperature isn’t as important, but you do want the humidity to stay low. Not only will it be hard for your air conditioner to adjust the humidity level when you return, but paint dries slower in hot, humid air, and mold is more likely to form under these conditions. When your space is empty, it’s a good idea to raise the temperature by 10 degrees and set your thermostat to go back to normal temperature 30 minutes before you return. This will help you save money on your electric bill when you’re away without allowing the heat and humidity to cause problems.
Activity Level: The heavier the activity going on in the building, the cooler you will need the air to be. Working hard in hot conditions isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. Look over your schedule every day and let the room stay warmer during more sedentary activity, and cooler during more rigorous activity.
Thermostat Temperatures are Only One Way to Save Money
When trying to save on your air conditioning costs, being mindful of the thermostat is one method, but it’s also important to choose the proper unit and consider ways to supplement your air conditioning system.
- The Size of the Unit and Your Space: It’s important to select the air conditioner that is most appropriate for your site. Our AC calculator can help.
- Fans: Using a fan is an easy way to make a space feel cooler for much less. As the air moves, it facilitates evaporation, which has a cooling effect. Check out our industrial fans for rent.
- Swamp Coolers: These cost-effective units use no refrigeration to operate. Instead, they saturate a pad with water, pull the cool air off the top of the pad as it evaporates, and circulate that air through the space. Check out our swamp coolers for rent.
- Misting Fans: These are fans that add cool mist to the air, which creates a cooling effect as it evaporates from skin. Check out our misting fans for rent.
- Blinds: Closing blinds will keep the sunlight out, resulting in a much cooler space.
Don’t Set a Temporary Air Conditioner Below 70°
One important rule of thumb is to never set your temporary air conditioner below 70°. In order for the unit to function properly, it needs to cycle through turning on and off. If a unit runs consistently, this can lead to serious problems with the unit. It’s also important to know that these units operate in a 4 degree window. So if your unit is set to 70°, it will turn on at 72° and cool your space down to 68°. This will create a comfortable temperature and dehumidify your space.
You Feel Comfortable at a Range of Temperatures
You may be hunting for a magic number where you feel perfectly comfortable, but the truth is that you feel happy at a range of temperatures. For most Americans, that is between 75° and 70°. Each degree you raise your thermostat saves you about 3-5% on air conditioning costs.
The trick is to find the range that works best for you and for the safety and comfort of your workers.