For many hours a day you’re away at work, or possibly at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning keeps working, despite the house being empty. This uses up a ton of energy and wastes money. You can considerably lower this cost by changing the thermostat up or down when you go to work and resetting it back to your desired temperature when you get 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 around 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in more temperate climates than for those in more extreme climates.
The tinier the variation between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the lower your complete cooling bill can be. You can effectively save energy during the winter by lowering the thermostat to something like 68°F while you're awake and turning it down while you're asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can use the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping 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 are at home and want cooling and to provide humidity control if required.
You might have been advised that these kinds of adjustments are not worth the time because your HVAC has to work harder to go back to your desired temperature, undoing your savings, but the energy department dismisses that claim, namely 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
Despite the benefits of adjusting your thermostat every time you go to work, it’s easy to miss 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 change to a higher or lower temperature across your average 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 forgotten to fix the setting before going on a long trip.
Remember the Pets
If you have pets at home, think about their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with heavy 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 tolerances vary significantly by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
Additional Benefits of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you use your HVAC system, the more carbon emissions you produce. Conserving energy decreases air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overusing your HVAC unit can reduce its life span and cause increased maintenance to be required. It also means the air filter can clog up more quickly, making your indoor air quality worse.
If you have any questions about your air conditioner settings, or if you are looking for HVAC repair or maintenance, get in touch with the pros at Neal Harris Service Experts, a big company with local heart. We’re passionate about making the world a comfortable 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 comfortable and satisfied.
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