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What are the best A/C settings for snowbirds?

By FPL Expert

Asked on: February 18, 2014 by Scott F., Englewood

I have my thermostat/humidistat set to 80/60 while away up north. I watch my usage via my energy dashboard, but wondered if these are the best settings to save energy and prevent issues?

There are definitely ideal settings that can help you maximize your savings while you’re away from your winter home in Florida, while preventing moisture and other issues in your home. You’re off to a good start!

The right setting for manual thermostats
Our research found that setting a manual thermostat to 80 degrees for homes and 77 for condos typically provides enough dehumidification to prevent mold. Since you also have a humidistat to control humidity, you have the flexibility to set the temperature higher at 88 degrees, while setting your humidistat’s relative humidity, or RH, to 58 percent. This will help you save even more energy while still keeping the indoor humidity in a safe range.

If the conditions for both your thermostat and humidistat must both be met, click here for more info.

Increased control with programmable thermostats
For customers with programmable thermostats without humidity control (without a built-in humidistat), FPL recommends programming thermostats at 72 degrees for just two hours each morning before sunrise and at 88 degrees the rest of the time. This will prevent mold by removing moisture from the air during the cooler hours when RH is highest and your A/C runs most efficiently.

Even more efficiency and mold prevention
The most energy-efficient way to help prevent mold from developing in vacant homes is to use stand-alone dehumidifiers. Use one dehumidifier for every 1,000 square feet and set the controls to 58 percent RH. Locate them by a sink or shower so water from the drainage tube can go down the drain.

Other tips for your home
As an additional precaution, we recommend having your A/C ductwork checked for leaks by requesting an FPL duct test. Check for air leaks around doors and windows, too.  Both are good ways to minimize the amount of moisture getting into your home.

We’re happy to hear that you are finding the Energy Dashboard helpful in monitoring your usage while you’re not in Florida. We highly recommend that customers log into their online account to view their own personal dashboard, especially while they are away, to watch for any unusual changes in energy usage which could indicate an equipment malfunction.

Visit www.FPL.com/seasonal for more energy-saving tips while away from your home.

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Comments [36]

  1. Judy

    I set my condo air conditioner which is two stores at 79 but I leave the Honeywell humidifier on all the time. Which is better? To set at about 58 or leave it on. I do see the plastic blinds sweat a bit on the bottom. Please let me know

  2. Arthur Adair

    Thanks for the information.

  3. George Prytula

    Our condo humidity is in question so we called in a service rep who disconnected the humidistat and told us to simply set the thermo at 78. The thermo had corrosion so replaced with “commercial grade”. He did not install the 2 AA batteries that accompanied. Why not? What is their purpose?

  4. Will

    I’m new to “seasonal” adjustments for cooling and mold control in my 1005 sf condo while in New Mexico for the summer. I’ve been reading about using a stand along de-humidifier which drains into a sink or shower. If I use a de-humidifier as described in your blog, do I also run the the AC at 78 and the humidistat at 58? Or do I use the de-humidifier alone without the AC/humidistat? Please explain.

    Thanks, Will

  5. Dan

    With temp set to 88 and humistat at 60….will ac come on if humidity goes to 85 percent but temp stays at 85 degrees…???

  6. Arleen

    Because the humidity is so high in the summer in fort meyers Florida I turned the a.c. to 80 and left the demidifyer in the on postion ? Shoul I have set it to 60 ?

  7. Gail

    Where do I set the humidistat when home. Do i set it on the On position or do I turn it in the OFF position

  8. Gail

    When home where to I set the humidistat? Do I leave it on the on position or do I turn it in the off position?

    1. Marilyn Krohn

      I live here year round so where should I set the

  9. Diana Novosel

    We have a new air conditioner and humidistat. We leave next week for 6 months in NY and are concerned not only about saving energy and moisture but also about allowing the temperature to reach a dangerous level that may dry out our quality wood furniture. Please advise as to the levels we should set both the thermostat and humidistat to protect everything. Thank you.

  10. Rick Ziolkowski

    I am purchasing a home in FL. I will be seaonal so I am interested in knowing how to care for it while I am away in the summer.

  11. Sonia Carr

    Very useful, especially on snowbirds. Thank You

  12. Roy A. Chin

    I was informed by my a/c service person that, because my a/c is more than ten years old, I should replace it. Estimated were collected showing mainly two types; single or dual stage compressors. Dual stage is linked to humidity control. Do you think the cost differential is justified?

  13. Peter Unrath

    With series it’s both, in parallel it’s either.
    What good would the humidistat be if for instance you set the Thermostat at 90 if you wire in series.
    Since you have two controls it would be parallel wiring so that you can control by either temperature OR humidity.

  14. H Figge

    What would be the best temperature to set the thermostat over the winter
    month i.e December January February March. Should we set heat thermostat
    on 55/60 whilst we are away.

  15. mark kinton

    what should the humidistsat be set at in winter will im in Florida we keep the temp at75

  16. E P Yutzler

    Completely confused about the humidistat/thermostat dynamic and operation. Just bought condo with Ranco humidistat and very basic LuxPro thermostat. They are connected but I have no idea how they operate together. I do not have the ability to adjust the thermostat. I can change the dial on the humidistat and that appears to be the controlling mechanism for the air conditioner.
    Please help clarify how this all works together, what settings are appropriate. I am truly clueless as to how this all plays out and need advice.
    Thank you.

  17. Gus Hawkins

    I am a Florida PE, and probably over-analyze things. I am having difficulty in deciding whether my thermostat and humidistat should be wired in parallel or series. My HVAC installation contractor wired them in series. While that might provide the most energy savings, I am not sure that it provides the most protection. I believe that wiring in parallel, with the thermo set at 80 and the humidistat set at 55% would be best. Your thoughts?

    Thank you!

  18. Shamsah

    What is the recommended thermostat set up temperature for about 400-500 people in south Florida

  19. Don Grabowski

    How do I arrange for an FPL duct test? How much does it cost?

  20. Don Grabowski

    How do you arrange for an FPL duct test? What does it cost?

  21. jerry miller

    From a snowbird: Two years in a row we have set our system at 60/80 and two years in a row the temp in the house has gone to 60. hvac people say it could be caused by an outage. Help?

  22. Dr David Kaplansky

    Thank You!, FPL.

    I am very impressed with all the easy to read and pertinent information you provide to your customers,
    Please keep up the good work FPL.

    Dr David Kaplansky ( A contented “Snowbird”)

  23. Mrs C

    What’s your advice to snowbirds who live in manufactured homes. We leave Fl in May, returning in October. We have installed a new heat pump with a humidistat

  24. Sandra Richards

    I have a couple of comments regarding the last FPL newsletter. (1) I was
    unable to locate online the answer to the query about why you should
    turn fans off when you leave the room and (2) the article about reversing
    the direction of your ceiling fans for the different seasons was not written clearly. Instead of saying “reverse your fan direction in the summer” why
    not tell us what direction (clockwise/counterclockwise) the fan needs to be for both summer and winter.
    Don’t assume every FPL customer’s fans are all spinning in the same

  25. Richard Blais

    I just installed a Honeywell remote smart thermostat (top of the line) with dehumidity control in my condo. The current vacation setting is at 80 degrees and the humidity at 60%. We have found the average humidity for May to be around 36%. What max temperature can I set the temperature to if the humidity is below 60%, 55%, or 50%? I read your suggestion to set the temperature at 88 for a condo with a thermostat only unit with no dehumidity control. I guess the question is as long as we control the humidity, the temperature doesn’t matter? Thanks

  26. Marlin Wall

    How should I use the A/C to prevent mold forming in my condo when we live here all year?

  27. Gabe Torok

    Response to Harold Hoyt’s question on March 7, 2015
    If the temperature is set to 99 and the humidistat to low humidity (20% in his case) and the AC does not come on than the humidistat and thermostat are wired in series. That means that they cannot independently control temperature and humidity. If they are wired in parallel than either too high temperature or too high humidity will turn on the AC, the preferred method, especially for vacant summer homes. I keep my thermostat set to 86 degrees and my calibrated humidistat to 62% and my monthly AC cost in the summer when I am not in Florida is $35 for a 3700 square foot home. Have been doing this for over 10 years.
    You can check that a serially connected system is working as follows: keep the humidistat at 20% and lower the thermostat below the ambient temperature, the AC should turn on. Then increase the humidistat setting above the ambient humidity and the AC should turn off.

  28. Harold Hoyt

    In trying to check my humidistat I set the temp. To 99 and the humidistat to 20 . The RH humidity in my condo was currently 65percent. Yet the AC never came on. Does this mean the wiring of the humidistat is wired in series. Should it be wired parallel ? And how can a person find out how it is wired ? Is there any benefit to a perticular wiring? To me I would think that parallel is better. How can I make shour that the system is working.



  30. Sharon

    The link for recommendations for programmable settings with humidity control it’s not working. Please provide some more info on settings for snow birds with programmable thermostats and humidity control.

  31. Jack Beiter

    Please keep me posted on what is best for my vacant condo while I’m up north.

    Thank you.

    Jack Beiter

  32. Tina Like

    Is there a charge for the ac duct test

  33. rob

    your web site https://app.fpl.com/nsmo/nsmoEnroll.do is not working


    A friend and I are having a discussion about the functioning of humidistats and thermostats. How should a humidistat be connected, in parallel with, or in series with the thermostat?

    I believe in parallel to cause the HVAC to come on when (1) the RH reaches or exceeds the humidistat’s setting, OR (2) when the temp reaches or exceeds the thermonstat’s setting.

    If the two control units are connected in series, then the HVAC will come on only if both, (1) the RH exceeds the humidistat’s setting AND (2) the temp exceeds the thermonstat’s setting.

    Can you confirm this information?

    Thank you.

  35. Gary W

    Why do you recomemmend a lower AC setting (77F) for condos than for homes (80F)?

    We own a second floor end unit in a 6-unit building (3 units on each floor). Our unit is right off of I75 in Sarasota about a 30 minute drive the the gulf.

    What AC setting would you recommend for this type of unit?


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