For several hours a day you’re off at work, or maybe at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning keeps working, despite the house being empty. This uses a good deal of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly reduce this cost by setting the thermostat up or down before you head to work and adjusting 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 changes:
You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by simply adjusting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day rather than 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 contrast between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill can be. You can comfortably save energy during the winter by adjusting the thermostat to around 68°F while you're awake and adjusting it down while you're in bed or away from home. During the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by having your house warmer than normal when you are away and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you are at home and want cooling and to provide humidity control if necessary.
You could have been told that these kinds of adjustments won't be worth the effort because your HVAC has to work even harder to return to your preferred temperature, using up your savings, but the energy department puts that notion to rest, particularly 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
Even with the benefits of setting your thermostat each time you head to work, it’s easy to overlook in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one perk of programmable and smart thermostats. You can direct your thermostat to automatically move to another temperature during your average work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can adjust the temperature (or the programming schedule) from anywhere. This is very helpful if you’ve forgotten to fix the setting before leaving for a trip.
Don't Forget the Pets
If you have pets at home, consider their comfort too. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with short fur might not be comfortable with cold temperatures. The same goes for tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Since temperature preferences vary significantly by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
Other Perks of Adjusting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you operate your heating and cooling, the more carbon emissions you produce. Conserving energy decreases air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overworking your HVAC system can cut its life span and cause additional maintenance to be required. It also means the air filter can clog up faster, making your air less clean.
If you have any questions about your air conditioner features, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, call the professionals at Roland J. Down Service Experts , a big company with local heart. We’re serious about making the world a comfy place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water flow, we take great pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and content.
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