What Should I Set My Thermostat To When I’m Away From Home?
We often get the question ‘How should I set my thermostat during the day when I’m away from home?’ from customers who understand that it can be a waste of money to heat or cool your home when you’re away for long periods of time or after you’ve gone to bed. Since it can be difficult to determine just how high or low to set your thermostat during those times, let’s do some research and get some answers.
Close That Temperature Gap
The U.S. Department of Energy has this basic recommendation on the subject: As a rule of thumb, you should set your thermostat as low as comfortably possible in the winter and as high as comfortably possible in the summer.
Here’s why: the smaller the difference in temperature between the inside of your house and outside, the lower your overall heating and cooling costs will be. For example, let’s say it’s a mild winter day with an outside temperature of 50 degrees. It requires less energy from your HVAC system to heat your house up to 60 degrees than to keep it at 70 degrees. Ask yourself what’s the closest temperature I can set my thermostat to match the temperature outside that won’t leave me feeling too uncomfortable in my home?
Save Yourself Some Money
The smaller the differentiation between the outdoor air temperature and the number on your thermostat, the less energy you will end up using and the more money you will in turn save. The Department of Energy actually estimates that you can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bill simply by adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees for at least 8 hours each day.
Let’s say you typically keep your home at 78 degrees during the winter, take the plunge and turn it down to 68-71 degrees during the hours you’re at work, and then again when you go to bed. Gradually adjust your indoor temperature in this way, and your comfort level will adjust to the change in the environment.
Similarly, in the summer, if you normally keep your thermostat set to a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing the temperature gradually upward. You’ll enjoy saving money while your system won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.
Smart Thermostats: An Easy Solution
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could set the thermostat to adjust to your desired temperature as you’re getting home from work? Or even better: an hour before you even arrive so that it’s already where you want it when you walk through the door. Programmable or “smart” thermostats allow you to do just that, making this process and saving money that much easier.