Florida

Floridians were just told to raise their AC to 82 degrees. Who are they kidding?

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Consumer Reports has just told people that the best temperature to keep your central air conditioning unit at is 78 degrees — when you’re home. And bump it up to 82 degrees when you’re sleeping.

That roar you just heard isn’t today’s South Florida thunderstorm. It’s the sound of a mass shout laughing hysterically: “Are you crazy, Consumer Reports? This is Florida!”’

We don’t do 78 degrees indoors. We do 65 degrees to justify spending $250 on that nice sweater at Saks Fifth Avenue that looks so nice on our cousin in New York.

Seeting the AC at 82 when Florida has days and days of heat index readings of 100 to 110 degrees with a daily dousing from storm clouds?

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82 degrees for sleeping?

Seventy eight degrees? And 82 for sleeping?

Consumer Reports knew it would get blowback so editors pre-emptively wrote, “Based on social media’s reaction to the report, we’re going to go ahead and say this is not a consumer-approved report.”

An informal survey around the office, where the thermostat is set at 65 degrees, was met with eye rolls and scoffing.

Social media reaction

On Facebook and Twitter “Hell no!” and “Screw that,” were the more common, less decorous way of saying: “Thank you, Consumer Reports, but please stick to rating TVs and refrigerators.”

Someone else blamed it on Satan. Consumer Reports blames it on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Star.

“72 for me with paddle fans on high,” read a response to the “Hell no!” Facebook post.

Beat the heat with fans?

A ceiling fan is actually one of Consumer Reports’ suggestions to “beat the heat” when bumping up your AC to keep energy costs down.

“A ceiling fan or box fan causes a wind chill effect that makes you feel cooler at a higher temperature setting, as long as the humidity isn’t too high,” Consumer Reports said.

“Humidity too high?” One word: Florida.

Besides fans might make you think you’re cooling off, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when temperatures are in the upper 90s — and that’s not even counting the heat index, which is what you really feel — electric fans won’t really prevent heat illness. A cool shower or bath is better but your office mates might not appreciate you toweling off at your desk.

“It may take some experimenting to reach a compromise, but keep in mind that you’ll save about 3% of your utility bill for every degree you raise the set temperature for your central air,” Consumer Reports said, citing the Department of Energy’s findings.

In Florida, we’ll just make up the difference by not using our turn signals. Saves money on replacement light bulbs.

What is your ideal AC setting?

So what is your ideal AC setting at home? Let us know in the comments section at MiamiHerald.com.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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