You may randomly set your thermostat at the temperature you’re most comfortable with, but there are actually recommendations as to the best settings during the cold and warm seasons. In general, a setting of 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer is optimal for the best energy consumption. The closer the inside temperature is to the outside temperature, the more energy and money you’ll save. Keeping the thermostat set at the same temperature keeps the equipment from working overtime to keep up with fluctuations, too.
Adjusting the thermostat to 62 degrees during the night in the winter is a smart way to save since you can easily stay warm with winter pajamas, blankets and quilts. Inactivity causes us to feel cooler, so bumping the temperature up a couple of degrees in the summer to 80 shouldn’t make sleeping at night uncomfortably warm either. One tip for staying cool in the summer months is to make sure that your home isn’t too humid since that can make it seem a lot warmer.
The Department of Energy advises people to control the temperature with a programmable thermostat that can save energy by reducing output during times that the air conditioning or heat aren’t needed. This works well when used in moderation. For example, you might set the controls to dial back the heat or air conditioning during the day if no one is at home. Just don’t make the difference more than a few degrees, or the unit will work hard to catch up later, and that could negate much of your energy savings.
When you turn on the air conditioner after the house has gotten too warm, don’t be tempted to turn the setting down lower than normal to cool the inside faster. It won’t work, and you might forget that you set it that low, resulting in a higher electric bill. When turning the heat down at night while sleeping, it won’t stress the furnace to get back to the usual temperature in the morning. In the meantime, every degree closer to the outside temperature at night will slow the heat loss from your home.
There are a few ways to help your air conditioner or heater to do the job, and they’ll save you some money. In the summer, close the blinds or drapes in the hottest part of the day. Blackout blinds are inexpensive and will make a noticeable difference in the coolness of your home. Ceiling fans are another way to keep cool since they can knock three or four degrees off of the temperature in the room. If you live in an area that cools down at night, an attic fan combined with cracked windows will bring cool air through your home.
Before turning up the temperature on the thermostat in the winter, make sure that you’ve taken care of any drafts. Check the doors and windows to see if any of them need to have the weather stripping replaced. You’d be surprised how low you can keep the thermostat set if you dress warmly. Socks with slippers and a snuggly robe over your clothes can make it unnecessary to set the temperature above the mid-sixties.
If you follow these suggestions, you could see a welcome difference in your electric bill at the end of the month. It’s possible to shave ten percent off your energy costs by taking the time to plan the way you use your thermostat. You can also create a comfortable environment in these other ways, saving your furnace or air conditioner from working overtime.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.