For several hours a day you’re gone at work, or possibly at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning keeps working, despite the house being empty. This uses a ton of energy and costs you money. You can dramatically scale back this cost by changing the thermostat up or down as you head to work and resetting it back to your preferred temperature when you get home. But how much should you adjust it?
Here’s what the Department of Energy says about thermostat changes:
You can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day compared to its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is larger for buildings in milder climates than for those in more extreme climates.
The smaller the contrast between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the less expensive your overall cooling bill should be. You can comfortably 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. For summer, you can use the same plan with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are at work and adjusting the thermostat to a setting as warm as you're comfortable with when you return and want cooling and to secure humidity control if needed.
You may have been told that these kinds of adjustments won't be worth it because your HVAC has to work even harder to go back to your favored 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
Regardless of the benefits of adjusting your thermostat each time you leave for work, it’s not hard to overlook in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one benefit of programmable and smart thermostats. You can adjust your thermostat to automatically shift to a higher or lower temperature through your standard work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can adjust the temperature (or the programming schedule) from anywhere. This is especially helpful if you’ve neglected to change the setting before going on vacation.
Don't Forget the Pets
If you have a pet, consider their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with dense fur won’t be as happy with high temperatures. And pets with short fur might not be comfortable with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Since temperature preferences differ widely by breed and species, so it helps to verify the ideal temperature range for your pets.
Additional Advantages of Adjusting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The harder you use your heating and cooling, the more carbon emissions you produce. Conserving energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Demanding too much from your HVAC unit can reduce its life expectancy and cause increased maintenance to be necessary. It also means the air filter will clog up faster, making your air less clean.
If you have any ideas about your air conditioner options, or if you require HVAC repair or maintenance, get in touch with the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a big company with hometown heart. We’re enthusiastic about making the world a comfy 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 content.
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