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Where do you set the thermostat during summer? Here's what the feds say you should do

Setting your home's thermostat to a warmer temperature can lower your cooling costs and help the environment, the Department of Energy says.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The countdown to summer is on and a special federal government program has a recommendation for saving money, but it will require you to turn up the thermostat. 

Is 78 degrees too warm? It might not be too high outside, but setting your thermostat is another question. The Department of Energy's Energy Star program says that's the best temperature to save the environment and stay cool.

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Some people say that 78 is way too high and they'll never crank the temperature that high during summer when temperatures are routinely in the 90s. But if you're willing to be slightly uncomfortable, it could save money on your energy bill. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% annually on your cooling bill by turning the thermostat up seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day. Duke Energy jumped in on the savings pitch last summer when it offered $75 gift cards to give the company control of its customers' thermostats during summer. 

There is a catch, though. You shouldn't just set the thermostat to 78 and leave it. No, Energy Star and the Department of Energy say you should actually turn it up even more at night to 82 degrees. Some Wake Up Charlotte viewers said there's just no way they'll sleep with the temperature that warm. 

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Here are a few other energy-saving tips from the government:

  • Use an extra fan to spread the cool air around your house.
  • Don't put electric appliances, like lamps and TVs, next to your sensor. It could result in your HVAC system reading higher than the actual temperature and running unnecessarily. 
  • When the sun is at its hottest, keep your curtains drawn to keep the heat from escaping your home. Curtains, shades and other window treatments block sunlight and heat radiated from the outdoors. 
  • Cooking can be another source of heat in your home. When temperatures are at their highest, try to avoid using your oven. Cooking on the stovetop or in the microwave can help keep your kitchen cool. Or if you'd like to enjoy the outdoors and get out of a warm house, fire up the grill and cook outside. 


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