What’s the ideal temperature for your air conditioning?

A house that’s too hot or too cold is never pleasant! Thermal comfort is an essential part of a comfortable home environment. But how do you adjust your air con settings so your home is a great place to be in winter and summer alike?

Setting your air conditioning temperature according to the seasons  

What’s the ideal temperature for air conditioning in summer? 

The ideal temperature for your home in summer is largely a matter of individual preference. Some like it hot, while others prefer to keep it really cool! With rising temperatures, many people are finding that an electric fan won’t cut it, and that an air conditioner is the best way to go when it comes to cooling their home. With programmable thermostats, these units are a smart option if you want to ensure a comfortable temperature in your house at any time, in day or night mode. 

Nevertheless, according to the ADEME1 (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), it’s best to use your air conditioner only when the temperature exceeds 26°, and set the thermostat to no more than 5 to 6 degrees lower than the outside temperature. The ideal thermostat setting is between 20 and 25 degrees in a typical summer. For heatwaves, it’s best to set it to a temperature of around 26-27 degrees.  

What’s the ideal temperature for air conditioning in winter? 

Reverse cycle AC units have the advantage of heating your house in winter as well as cooling it down in summer. While you can’t really use these units as a replacement for heaters in all situations, they can generate enough heat to maintain a certain level of thermal comfort if temperatures aren’t too low. So in cold weather, we recommend setting your thermostat to a temperature between 19 and 21 degrees.  

Should the air conditioning temperature be the same during the day and night? 

Generally, nighttime temperatures are cooler than daytime temperatures, so you should adjust your thermostat settings according to the time of day or evening. However, sleeping with the AC on isn’t always recommended... 

What are the risks if you set an air conditioner to the wrong temperature?  

High electricity bills  

The colder you want the air to be, the lower you set the thermostat and the more money you end up spending on your energy bills. According to the ADEME1, by allowing the indoor temperature to increase from 22° to 26° you can halve your energy use and save money accordingly. This means that when setting your thermostat, you need to find a balance between comfort and energy savings. Keep in mind the fact that every home is different and that factors such as room size, insulation, sun exposure and humidity levels can also influence the ideal temperature for air conditioning units. 

Thermal shock risk  

If your body is suddenly subjected to a big difference in temperatures, you’ll be exposed to thermal shock. That’s why it’s best not to have too big a difference between your indoor temperature and the outdoor temperature. As we’ve seen, the ADEME suggests keeping the difference within 6°, although some specialists think a maximum difference of 8° is all right.  

Do air conditioners pose a risk to sleep quality?  

Depending on how hot it is in the summer, keeping your AC on in the room at night can help you stay cool and fall asleep more easily.  

However, before you spend the night with the air conditioner on, ensure your unit is well maintained and set to the right temperature, and that the air isn’t blowing directly at you. Indeed, if these conditions aren’t met, your health could be affected. For example, a poorly maintained AC unit can lead to respiratory problems, while too low of a temperature can give you a sore throat. As well as thermostat settings, another factor to take into account is how noisy your unit is. This is something you need to look at when shopping for one, because a noisy machine can make it hard to sleep...  

Some tips on the general use of air conditioning 

Servicing your AC unit 

Correct maintenance will not only improve your air conditioner’s performance and lifespan, it will also allow you to breathe healthier air. There are two types of maintenance: professional servicing (which is a legal requirement for commercial buildings) and the kind of maintenance you can perform regularly yourself at home without spending money on a technician. In both cases, maintenance is crucial if you want to avoid potential health risks and reduce wear and tear on the components in your air conditioner.  

Opt for an Inverter air conditioning system 

Inverter-based units regulate the temperature precisely according to occupants’ needs, ensuring constant thermal comfort. Because its power is controlled precisely, a unit with Inverter technology helps you save even more energy than conventional air conditioners. 

Ventilation and air conditioning: how do you combine the two?  

Ventilation is an important part of maintaining healthy air in a home. By opening the windows of your house, you can refresh the air indoors, which avoids overly high humidity levels and CO2 concentration. However, for an AC system to be effective, you must ensure you never open the doors and windows while it’s running. But why can’t I open the windows and air out the room while I run the air con? 

Because the air con won’t be effective if you do this: if warmer air from outside enters the room, the unit will no longer be able to cool the air properly. Secondly, if you let in the heat, you’ll feel the need to turn down the thermostat to compensate for this, which will lead to you using more energy and spending more money on bills. Of course, you can still ventilate your home when you have air conditioning, but the two steps have to be taken separately. Before airing out a room, always turn off your AC if you want to save energy and money. 

To enjoy your home in all seasons, by night and day, make sure you take the right steps! By keeping a moderate difference between the temperature in your home and the temperature outdoors, servicing your air conditioner regularly and closing your windows when your AC is on, you’ll be doing all the right things to ensure you can relax at home at a comfortable temperature. 

1: ADEME, Comment garder son logement frais en été ? [How can I keep my home cool in the summer?]