For several hours a day you’re gone at work, or perhaps at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning continues to run, without anybody home. This uses up a good deal of energy and wastes money. You can dramatically lower this cost by changing the thermostat up or down before you go to work and resetting it back to your favored temperature when you return home. But how much should you adjust the temperature?
Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat settings:
You can save around 10% a year on heating and cooling by just turning your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is larger for buildings in more temperate climates than for those in more dynamic climates.
The tinier the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your complete cooling bill can be. You can effectively save energy during the winter by lowering the thermostat to about 68°F while you're awake and setting it down while you're sleeping or away from home. In the summer, you can use the same approach with central air conditioning by leaving your house warmer than normal when you are away and tweaking the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you return and want cooling and to ensure humidity control if required.
You may have been advised that these kinds of adjustments won't be worth it because your comfort system has to work extra hard to get back to your favored temperature, undoing your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, 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
Even with the benefits of changing your thermostat any time you head to work, it’s not hard to miss in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one benefit of programmable and smart thermostats. You can direct your thermostat to automatically move to another temperature across your regular work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can increase or decrease the temperature (or the programming schedule) remotely. This is especially helpful if you’ve forgotten to fix the setting before going on vacation.
Always Remember the Pets
If you have pets at home, think about their comfort too. Cats and dogs with dense fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with less fur might not be comfortable with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Since temperature preferences differ universally by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
Additional Perks of Setting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you run your HVAC system, the more carbon emissions you produce. Conserving energy minimizes air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overusing your HVAC system can diminish its life span and cause additional maintenance to be needed. It also means the air filter will clog up more quickly, making your indoor air quality worse.
If you have any ideas about your air conditioner settings, or if you are looking for HVAC repair or maintenance, get in touch with the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a big company with local heart. We’re enthusiastic about making the world a comfortable place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities cozy and satisfied.
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