How to Get Most of Your Thermostat Setting

Homeowners in many regions see an increase in electrical costs in the summer because air conditioners run longer to keep homes cooler.  Homeowners become interested in learning what they can do to lower those bills, but the summertime isn’t the only time that keeping a close eye on the thermostat can save a family money.  People who are active in adjusting their thermostat can remain comfortable, while also watching their electric bills decrease.

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What Temperature?

One thing to remember is that there is no single temperature that everyone is comfortable at.  There is a range that people can feel good, and the thing to do is learn what the warmest temperature is in that range and set the thermostat at that number.  If 76 degrees is too warm, and you’re looking for a sweater at 69 degrees, your range is 70 and 75 degrees.  In order to save as much money as possible, set your thermostat at 75 degrees.  You may also be comfortable at 71 degrees, but your appliance will run more often to keep your home at 71 degrees.  Find your upper limit of comfort and set the thermostat there.

At night, your air conditioner will work less because the ambient temperature will decrease, and the sun won’t be adding direct heat hitting the outside or rooms on the inside of the house.  Because of these factors, it is possible to turn the thermostat lower at night without making it run all night.

Winter Temperature

In the winter, you should go through the same process to find the perfect temperature range, but find the lowest temperature you’re comfortable in.  Remember that you’re wearing more clothes, and also that if you can handle 73 degrees in the summer, your heater will have to work harder to keep the temperature at 73 degrees in the winter.  A common rule is that every degree can affect your energy bill by 1%.

If you can, lower your thermostat to a range of 50 degrees to 55 degrees at night.  In some regions of the country, putting your thermostat down 15 degrees for eight hours has been proven to decrease electric bills by 15% in more moderate climates.  In colder weather locations, the savings will still be noticeable, but probably not quite 15% in savings as the heater will have to work harder to warm the house up again.

What about When You’re at Work?

As a general rule, don’t shut your air or heating units off when you go to work.  Some people believe that putting up with an hour or two of discomfort when they get home is worth it for the savings, but the truth is, it may cost more money.  When all warm or cool air leave your house, it takes even longer to return it to comfortable temperatures because all of the house must be altered which actually takes more effort and therefor more energy to get comfortable again.

To save money, while also remaining comfortable, follow these guidelines:

  • In the summer, set the thermostat higher by 5 degrees when leaving home for work.
  • In winter, set the thermostat five degrees lower when going to work.
  • For longer trips, such as vacations, turn the air off while you’re gone—this also depending on pets remaining home; and do the same in winter if you’re certain the temperature won’t drop below freezing and burst your pipes.  Otherwise, drop the temperature to 50 degrees during longer winter trips.

Programmable Thermostats Worth Your Money?

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Many people might think that all of this moving the temperature is a hassle, and it might be.  If you don’t think you want to be responsible for remembering to turn the thermostat down at night, you can get a programmable thermostat that can automatically drop the temperature at 9 A.M. every weekday, then again at 10:00 P.M. every night.  That way the homeowner doesn’t have to worry if they forgot to make the adjustment.  These thermostats cost more($250-$500 more), but they can also help homeowners save more and enjoy piece-of-mind.

A Video Guide For Programmable Thermostat

Learning to adjust the air and the heat in your home can save you money.  Find out the range that is best for you and your family and make the needed adjustments for your home, and for your bank account.

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