BOSTON (CBS) – As homes and businesses try to find ways to save money while keeping cool during the summer heat, there’s always a debate about what temperature to set the air conditioner.

For comfort, that’s an issue that will likely never be agreed upon.

But for energy efficiency, the federal program Energy Star recommends the lowest temperature you should set your air conditioner is 78 degrees. That’s right – never below 78.

The agency also said you should set it at 85 degrees while you’re at work or out of the house.

And while you sleep, Energy Star recommends 82 degrees.

The bottom line, the higher the temperature, the higher the savings.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

There’s also this tip from the agency when starting to use your AC.

“Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.”

Energy Star, which you might recognize from the blue labels on selected appliances, is a government program run by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. According to its’ website, it “helps businesses and individuals save energy and protect the environment through energy-efficient products, homes, and buildings.”

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