For several hours a day you’re gone at work, or perhaps at school. Yet your comfort system keeps working, without anybody home. This needs a ton of energy and costs you money. You can dramatically lower this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down when you go to work and setting it back to your desired temperature when you come home. But how much should you adjust it?
Here’s what the Department of Energy says about thermostat adjustments:
You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by just setting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day rather than its usual setting. The percentage of savings from setback is larger for buildings in cooler climates than for those in more extreme climates.
The tinier the variation between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the more affordable your overall cooling bill can be. You can easily save energy in the winter by lowering the thermostat to around 68°F while you're awake and adjusting it down while you're sleeping or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same approach with central air conditioning by leaving your house warmer than normal when you are at work and adjusting the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you are at home and want cooling and to ensure humidity control if required.
You may have been told that doing these adjustments aren’t worth it because your comfort system has to work even harder to get back to your desired temperature, reversing your savings, but the energy department dismisses that claim, 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
Despite the benefits of changing your thermostat any time you go to work, it’s easy to miss in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one perk of programmable and smart thermostats. You can instruct your thermostat to automatically move to a higher or lower temperature through 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 fix the setting before going on vacation.
Always Remember the Pets
If you have pets at home, consider their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be comfy with high temperatures. And pets with less fur may not be pleased with cold temperatures. The same is true of 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 you operate your HVAC system, the more carbon emissions you produce. Saving energy decreases air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overworking your HVAC system can diminish its longevity and cause increased 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 are looking for HVAC repair or maintenance, contact the specialists at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a big company with homegrown heart. We’re serious about making the world a cozy place to live. Whether we’re keeping things warm, cooling things down or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and contented.
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