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How hot is too hot?

July 27, 2022 by PEMCO Insurance
With summer in full swing, the newest poll by PEMCO Mutual Insurance reveals Northwest residents’ most preferred summertime temperature: a toasty 77 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the poll, more than half (55%) agree that most comfortable temperatures – where it’s not too hot and not too cold – land between 70 and 79 degrees, with responses averaging out at 77. However, about one-third set higher standards, with 32% weighing in that the perfect weather here kicks in when the forecast reaches at least 80 degrees.

Regardless of personal preference, the poll shows that as the weather warms, Northwest residents are getting better prepared for hot summers. According to the poll, about two-thirds of Seattleites (67%) have some form of air conditioning system – whether it's central air or a portable, window-mounted unit. In Portland, the number of individuals with some form of air conditioning is significantly greater, at 81% of respondents.

With last year’s record-breaking heat wave a recent memory, many respondents say they stocked up on an AC unit within the last year. According to the poll, 42% percent of those with a portable air conditioning unit installed it in the last year. Overall, about three-quarters of respondents (78%) installed a portable unit within the last five years.

Of those who have AC, the amount they use it has increased as temperatures have risen in recent years, as well. Those who report regularly using their central air conditioning have significantly increased since 2015. In Seattle, 53% of respondents regularly use their central air conditioning as opposed to 46% who did in 2015. This rings true for Portland as well, with 57% of respondents regularly using their central air conditioning now in contrast to 43% back in 2015. 

“Many of us know the familiar phrase that summer in the Northwest starts on July 5 – that was certainly true this year! But with last year’s record-setting heat wave, it’s not surprising that so many took steps to be prepared to beat the heat this year and beyond,” said PEMCO spokesperson Allison Leep. “Interestingly, though, the poll seems to suggest that our region isn’t likely to face a shortage of AC units, like we saw in 2021. According to the poll, 57% of respondents say they aren’t likely to purchase a unit in the coming year.” 

Whether or not residents choose to blast the AC, the PEMCO poll also put several cooling tactics to the test. Residents resoundingly agree that leaving doors and windows closed to keep hot air outside is a far better strategy than to let outside air flow through the house. In Seattle 42% keep doors and windows shut, compared to 30% who leave them open to promote air flow. In Portland, the contrast is even more significant – 55% keep doors and windows shut while just 16% leave them open more often.  

For a complete summary of PEMCO’s proprietary poll results visit, where you’ll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in February 2022. 


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 481 respondents in the Seattle Metro (King, Snohomish, Pierce Counties) region and 399 respondents in the Portland Metro (Multnomah, Marion, Clackamas, Washington Counties) region yields an accuracy of +/- 5.0% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range. 

About PEMCO Mutual Insurance
PEMCO Mutual Insurance is the Defender of Your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee expertise and social impact. Our Mutual Good programs raise the achievement levels for youth in education; build stronger, greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more. To learn more, visit

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