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Air Conditioning

Posted by tylerh1701, in Personal 27 June 2013 · 1039 views

So this is the first summer in my new house, and I'm finding it quite a struggle between being cheap and being cool in my house. My house is probably a little bit bigger than it should be for a single guy (about 1600 sq. ft.) and is 3 floors, which I think is cramping the air flow.

So what do you guys set your AC's at during the summer? Do you program your thermostat to go up and down during the evenings and when you're out of the house?

I've read online that the ideal indoor temperature is 78 degrees, but that's not going to fly for me. I'm trying to adjust to 76 degrees but it's still very warm to me, and my AC is kicking on 3 to 4 times and hour during the afternoon/evening to keep it that cool (highs here are anywhere from 87-101 degrees outside during the summer).

I'm assuming it's central air. If not, I'd just go with a window unit in the bedroom and another in a main area that can be closed off. You can't be everywhere at once so it makes no sense to keep anywhere cold that you'll only be in for a few minutes.

I've got a smaller house than you (about 1,000 sq ft) I keep my ac at 76 when I'm home during the day, 78 when I'm not home, and 74 when I go to bed at night.  Works well for me.  If I'm upstairs on my second floor (I'm usually not) I go a little cooler as the temp is always warmer up there. I live in TX, during the summer the time from when the ac turns off until it turns back on is almost never more than 10 minutes.

Our house is relatively small, but it rarely goes above 70 in the summer. I get too hot too easily. Especially at night.

@davo - Yes it's central air.  I've never had central air before, when I lived at home we had a swamp cooler.  Swamp coolers are kind of a pain in the ass to put in and out every year, but I really like them.


@Nutman - Thanks, my turns on and off all the time just to keep it at 76, I guess that is just normal and I should get used to it.


@4thHorseman - I hate being warm at night as well, but I have a ceiling fan right over my bed that does a really good job of keeping me cool.

I should use the settings to schedule my a/c but I don't :/

One thing that helps a lot is to keep the curtains closed in rooms you're not using (or when you're out of the house).


And 78 degrees being ideal?  Whoa. :O  I've always found 68 to 70 to be about the only comfortable range, year-round.

@Indifference - It's a huge pain in the ass, especially when my schedule varies from day to day.


@Josh1billion - I do keep everything closed up and I think it helps.  And when I say 78 is ideal, I mean it seems to be the most recommended temperature to stay moderately cool and save money (in that every degree below 78 increased your bill by 4%-5%).  I'm with you though, 78 degrees is unbearable.  I'm trying to make 76 work, but I'm not sure if that's gonna happen.  I'm also considering moving downstairs to my basement for the summer.

You can get magnetic covers that will block the ducts in the rooms that you're not using and then you can close the rooms off.

@Tyler - Exactly, we aren't predictable or agreeable enough for it to work.

I'm actually an HVAC service tech, and this is a question I get asked a lot.  Its not like there is any magical number to where to set the thermostat but the main thing to remember is that central air AC systems are really designed to maintain a temperature rather than come on and satisfy quickly, so its best to stick to a desired temp, unless you run a program that gives it enough time to reach the temp you want.  Also the unit kicking on 3-4 times during a hot afternoon/evening isnt rare or uncommon really.


Obviously on hotter and more humid days the system is going to struggle more to satisfy and maintain a low temperature, and is going to be turning on and running more, but anywhere between 74-78 shouldn't be too difficult for your system to maintain.  There are a lot of other factors that come into play as well, such as the efficiency of the condensing unit, the length and quality of the ductwork, the way the house is insulated, and whether or not the system has a full charge (if not then it probably has a leak)


If you find that the system is just undersized and cant keep up no matter what I would recommend a ductless split system.  They are pretty amazing, and can also run as heat pumps 

We just spent 14k on new windows and an ac/heater system. We bought another house late last summer and the windows needed an upgrade along with the 40 year old AC. It's been almost 2 weeks since we've had the windows installed and the past few days have been a testing phase since temps have been 100+ degrees.


I can totally see the difference between before and after things were done. I've seen a 10 to 15 degree difference in temps with out the AC on. I'm still curious to see what the summer is going to bring and see if the extra money spent on everything was well worth it. I guess were going to find out one way or another since the summer here is already here.