For many hours a day you’re away at work, or maybe at school. Yet your heating or air conditioning keeps working, with nobody home. This uses a ton of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly reduce this cost by setting the thermostat up or down before you go to work and adjusting it back to your preferred temperature when you return home. But how much should you adjust it?
Here’s what the Department of Energy has to say about thermostat changes:
You can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by simply setting 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 more temperate climates than for those in more dynamic climates.
The smaller the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the more affordable your complete cooling bill can be. You can comfortably save energy through the winter by lowering the thermostat to about 68°F while you're awake and turning it lower while you're sleeping or away from home. For summer, you can practice the same approach with central air conditioning by having your house warmer than normal when you are away and tweaking the thermostat to a setting as high as you can manage comfortably when you're home and want cooling and to ensure humidity control if needed.
You could have been told that these kinds of adjustments won't be worth the time because your HVAC has to work even 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
Regardless of the benefits of setting your thermostat any time you head to work, it’s easy to forget in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one benefit of programmable and smart thermostats. You can set your thermostat to automatically move to a higher or lower temperature during your average work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can change the temperature (or the programming schedule) remotely. This is especially helpful if you’ve neglected to fix the setting before going on a long trip.
Remember the Pets
If you have a pet, consider their comfort too. Cats and dogs with dense fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with short fur won't always be pleased with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Because temperature preferences deviate widely by breed and species, so review them for your pets.
Other Benefits of Adjusting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more you run your heating and air conditioning, the more carbon emissions you produce. Saving energy decreases air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Demanding too much from your HVAC system can cut its life span and cause increased maintenance to be required. It also means the air filter may clog up sooner, making your indoor air supply worse.
If you have any questions about your air conditioner options, or if you require HVAC repair or maintenance, call the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a big company with homegrown heart. We’re passionate about making the world a cozy 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 satisfied.
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