You Might Save on Energy Bills, But at What Cost?

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Summer may be winding down, but that doesn't mean high temperatures are totally gone yet. Thanks to changing climate and unpredictable weather, you might not want to pull out your sweaters just yet. Even Pumpkin Spice Season can't hold back a heat wave.

July 2019 was officially the hottest month in recorded history; fingers crossed it won't get that dire again, but it's all the more reason to keep your air conditioner firmly set into your windows. Your electric bill probably noticed too, since running the A/C all day and night can wreak havoc on your usage. The good news is that according to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, there's an ideal temperature to keep your living space livable and spare your pocketbook.

The bad news is that it's 78 degrees Fahrenheit. That's just when you're home — when you're gone, it's worth setting your thermostat to 85F; you'll save most keeping your bedroom 82F when you sleep.

Of course, those kinds of savings at the end of the month may not be worth being miserable in your own home. High heat is proven to be uniquely hard on our brains, and the National Sleep Association recommends nighttime temperatures between 60F and 67F when you're trying to catch your z's. This stuff is deeply rooted in us, so don't feel bad if that's not a sacrifice you're willing to make. Luckily we've got lots of alternative ways to save on energy costs; check out Consumer Reports for a few suggestions.