For plenty of hours a day you’re off at work, or possibly at school. Yet your comfort system keeps going and going, with nobody home. This uses up a lot of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly scale back this cost by setting the thermostat up or down when you go to work and adjusting it back to your preferred temperature when you get home. But how much should you adjust the temperature?
Here’s what the Department of Energy says about thermostat settings:
You can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by simply setting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day compared to its typical setting. The percentage of savings from setback is larger for buildings in cooler climates than for those in more severe climates.
The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more affordable your overall cooling bill will be. You can comfortably save energy in the winter by adjusting the thermostat to something like 68°F while you're awake and adjusting it down while you're sleeping or away from home. During the summer, you can practice the same strategy with central air conditioning by leaving your house warmer than normal when you are away and tweaking the thermostat to a setting as warm as you're comfortable with when you return and want cooling and to provide humidity control if needed.
You may have been advised that making these adjustments are not worth the time because your heating and cooling has to work even harder to get back to your desired temperature, reversing your savings, but the energy department puts that notion to rest, particularly for a furnace: “A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.”
Programmable and Smart Thermostats
Regardless of the benefits of setting your thermostat each time you head to work, it’s easy to forget in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one benefit of programmable and smart thermostats. You can adjust your thermostat to automatically shift to a higher or lower temperature through your average work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can change the temperature (or the programming schedule) from your smartphone or similar device. This is very helpful if you’ve forgotten to adjust the setting before going on vacation.
Don't Forget the Pets
If you have pets at home, think about their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with thick fur won’t be comfy with high temperatures. And pets with less dense fur may not be happy with cold temperatures. The same goes for tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Because temperature preferences differ significantly by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
Other Perks of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you operate your HVAC system, the more carbon emissions you generate. Saving energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overusing your HVAC unit can reduce its longevity and cause additional maintenance to be required. It also means the air filter will clog up sooner, making your indoor air quality worse.
If you have any concerns about your air conditioner features, or if you are looking for HVAC repair or maintenance, contact the pros at Atmostemp Service Experts, a big company with homegrown heart. We’re serious about making the world a comfortable place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and satisfied.
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