Most homeowners keep their thermostat set too high in the winter. Some figure out on their own that turning the thermostat down a few degrees not only feels more comfortable but it also saves them a lot on their heating costs.
When you are just lying around, you may find that it feels a little cool in your home, but if you get active in any way, you will probably be burning up in no time. Besides, you can always put on a sweatshirt or a pair of socks, or you can cozy up under a blanket during the winter months.
Experts say that the best temperature to set your thermostat at during the winter is 68 degrees. This is plenty warm enough for most people no matter what they are doing. This temperature setting is for the daytimes when you are at home.
People often think about saving money on cooling costs during the summertime, but they don’t know that equal savings are possible in the winter.
A Couple Of Important Facts
Let’s take a moment to make a point: if you are comfortable at a cooler temperature, then, by all means, set your thermostat at a lower temperature. Plenty of people find 65° perfectly comfortable for their indoor home temperature. Setting your thermostat at any temperature below 66 degrees Fahrenheit will lower your energy costs noticeably.
Humidity isn’t as big of a problem in the winter, so you could get by without running your heater whenever it’s warm enough. There is a misconception that turning your heater or HVAC system on and off makes it work harder – and use more energy – when you turn it back on. This isn’t true. Your heater will actually use less energy overall because it isn’t running all the time. The only thing that makes your unit work harder is dirty filters and ducts.
Thermostat Best Practices
Now, with those topics out of the way, let’s look at the finer points of managing your thermostat. If you have a programmable thermostat or if you set it manually depending on your family’s schedule, there are a few things you should think about.
You can turn the heat down about 30 minutes before you leave home and program your thermostat to turn the heat back on 30 minutes before you get back. If you have a Wi-Fi control of your thermostat, you will have even more control over the indoor temperature.
When You Aren’t Home
If you lower your thermostat when you aren’t home, that could make a big difference in your energy costs for the winter. Most people are away from home 8 hours a day or more. During this time, you can lower the thermostat by as much as 10 or 15 degrees, which will save you up to 15 percent per year on heating costs.
The programmable thermostat discussed earlier will help with this, but simply turning the heat off before you leave will have basically the same effect. You’ll just have to knock off the chill when you return home.
At night, you can also turn the heat down as well. You may not be comfortable at 15 degrees lower than normal. If your average setting is 68°F, that means your nighttime setting would be only 53°F, which is pretty chilly. But a few degrees lower, from 8 to 10 degrees, will still be comfortable for everyone in your home while they sleep. You can add quilts or blankets to beds for extra warmth.
If you will be getting up and leaving the house early the next morning, you wouldn’t even need to turn it back up while you get ready for work and school. The savings could be substantial in this case.
When You Are Away
If you are going on vacation or will be away for a few days, 55°F is plenty warm enough. You simply need to keep it warm enough that pipes don’t bust and that, when you return home, you will be able to heat your home up quickly again.
Any time it’s comfortable to you in the late summer or early fall, we’d recommend opening up the windows. Allergens are at their lowest, and the air is crisp and fresh with the changing settings. Don’t run your air conditioner and heater until you absolutely have to.
The bottom line is that you must find a balance between an economical setting and one that is comfortable for you and your family.