Your home’s ideal temperature for your heating and cooling system should provide convenience and comfort to your indoor environment. Thermostat settings for both comfort and energy savings are important to every homeowner.
According to the United States Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.
You can easily put this into action and save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. Many people enjoy sleeping in a cooler room and using blankets for extra warmth anyway, so this strategy may come with an added bonus of improved wintertime rest.
In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Of course, this is easier said than done, and if you live in a climate where it’s regularly 100 degrees outside in the summer, it will still take a lot of energy to keep things comfortable.
Although thermostat settings can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. 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.
The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning.
One simple solution to managing your heating and cooling system is to adjust your thermostat temperature according to your habits, preferences and the temperature outside. The closer your thermostat setting is to the outside temperature, the more you’ll save.
No matter what your preference, adjusting your thermostat — either manually or with a programmable thermostat — will ultimately help you save money.