For several hours a day you’re gone at work, or possibly at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning keeps working, with nobody home. This uses a ton of energy and wastes money. You can considerably scale back this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down as you leave for work and setting it back to your preferred temperature when you return home. But how much should you adjust the temperature?
Here’s what the Department of Energy has to say about thermostat adjustments:
You can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by just setting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its typical setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in more temperate climates than for those in more severe climates.
The tinier the contrast between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the more affordable your overall cooling bill can be. You can comfortably save energy in the winter by lowering the thermostat to something like 68°F while you're awake and adjusting it down while you're asleep or away from home. For summer, you can practice the same plan 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 you're comfortable with when you're home and want cooling and to secure humidity control if necessary.
You could have been advised that doing these adjustments won't be worth it because your heating and cooling has to work harder to get back to your preferred temperature, reversing your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, namely for heaters: “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
Despite the benefits of adjusting your thermostat each time you leave for 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 instruct your thermostat to automatically shift to another temperature through your standard work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can change the temperature (or the programming schedule) from anywhere. This is particularly helpful if you’ve neglected to change the setting before leaving for a trip.
Don't Forget the Pets
If you own pets, think about their comfort too. Cats and dogs with thick fur won’t be comfy with high temperatures. And pets with less dense fur might not be comfortable with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Because temperature tolerances vary significantly by breed and species, so it helps to verify the ideal temperature range for your pets.
More Benefits of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you operate your heating and cooling, the more carbon emissions you produce. Saving energy minimizes air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overusing your heating and cooling can cut its life span and cause additional maintenance to be needed. It also means the air filter may clog up faster, making your air less clean.
If you have any ideas about your air conditioner settings, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, contact the pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a big company with local heart. We’re passionate about making the world a comfy place to live. Whether we’re keeping things warm, cooling things down or making the water run, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and content.
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