For many hours a day you’re gone at work, or perhaps at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning keeps going and going, without anybody home. This uses a lot of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly scale back this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down as you leave for work and resetting it back to your favored temperature when you get home. But how much should you adjust the temperature?
Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat settings:
You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day compared to its typical setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more dynamic climates.
The lower the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the less expensive your complete cooling bill can be. You can comfortably save energy through the winter by adjusting the thermostat to about 68°F while you're awake and adjusting it lower while you're in bed or away from home. In the summer, you can use the same plan with central air conditioning by having your house warmer than normal when you are gone and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as you're comfortable with when you're home and want cooling and to provide humidity control if needed.
You may have been told that doing these adjustments aren’t worth the effort because your HVAC has to work extra hard to return to your desired temperature, undoing your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, particularly for heating: “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 adjusting your thermostat each time you leave for work, it’s not hard to forget in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one advantage of programmable and smart thermostats. You can set your thermostat to automatically move to a higher or lower temperature during your typical work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can increase or decrease the temperature (or the programming schedule) remotely. This is particularly helpful if you’ve neglected to adjust the setting before leaving for a trip.
Remember the Pets
If you own pets, give consideration to their comfort too. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be as happy with high temperatures. And pets with less fur might not be pleased with cold temperatures. The same goes for tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Because temperature tolerances deviate widely by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
Other Advantages of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The harder you operate your HVAC system, the more carbon emissions you produce. Preserving energy decreases air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Demanding too much from your HVAC unit can reduce its life span and cause more maintenance to be required. It also means the air filter can clog up more quickly, making your air less clean.
If you have any ideas about your air conditioner settings, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, get in touch with the specialists at Strand Brothers Service Experts, a big company with hometown heart. We’re serious about making the world a cozy place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water flow, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities cozy and content.
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