Home Energy Savings Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home With Thermostats

Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home With Thermostats

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Thermostat Efficiency Tips

Using your thermostat to control the temperature in your home is one of the most effective ways to regulate your energy use and slash your energy bills. The smaller the difference is between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your energy bills will be.

According to Energy.gov, general thermostat guidelines are:

  • 68°F in the winter when you’re home and awake.
  • 78°F in the summer when you’re at home and awake.
  • Set back thermostat by 7-10°F when you’re asleep or away.

Following are tips to help you manage your thermostat so that you can maximize energy use for your entire household.

1. Always set the right temperature

Overheating your home can lead to lots of wasted energy and stuffy nights. The official cold weather plan for the US suggests living room temperatures of 70°F and 64°F for all other occupied rooms. However, most homes only keep a thermostat in the hallway.

If you don’t have a thermostat to control individual rooms, set the thermostat in the hallway to 68°F. Then set the radiator valve in your living room to a comfortable level (level 4), and the valves in the remaining rooms one level lower (level 3).

2. Lower your thermostat during the winter months.

If you can lower your thermostat during the winter months, the savings can be substantial. According to Energy.gov, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

3. Use a smart thermostat if you’ll be going away.

If you’re going to be gone for a weekend or more in winter, lower your thermostat to 55°F. You’ll save on heating without risking a freeze-up of your water pipes. Smart thermostats learn the exact time it takes to warm your home, and will make sure to activate at just the right time, based on how far you are from home.

Set your thermostat carefully during the summer and winter to avoid wasting energy.

If your home is going to be empty for 8 hours or longer, set your thermostat 5°-8° higher in the summer and 10°-15° lower in the winter. When you get home, set the thermostat back to your comfortable setting. Doing so can save you 5-15% on your yearly energy costs, according to the U.S. department of energy.

Run your furnace for longer, steadier times to save money.

Changing your thermostat settings in order to heat or cool your home faster wastes a lot of energy. It won’t work, and when you do that, your furnace or air conditioner will have to stop and start again, causing them to use more energy to get to your desired settings.

Keep heat sources away from the thermostat.

For accurate readings, never install a thermostat near a refrigerator or other large appliance, or where it will be in direct sunlight. Heat sources will fool the thermostat into thinking that the room is much warmer than it actually is. This will make your air conditioner or furnace work harder than it needs to.

Never turn the heating off or too low if you’re going away in the winter.

If you will be going away for a long period of time, lower your thermostat to between 50°F and 60°F. If you turn the heating lower than 50°F, you run the risk of frozen pipes in cold weather. This can lead to a terrible disaster that may not even be covered by your insurance policy.

In summer, set the thermostat to 85ºF or higher. Don’t switch it off because it may cause your refrigerator to work too hard, and it will take the furnace a while for it to heat up the house after you return.  

Don’t crank up your thermostat.

Cranking the thermostat up doesn’t heat up the rooms any faster. It has no control over how quickly your home heats up. The thermostat will still take the same length of time to warm up your cold room, but you’ll use a lot more energy because it will continue heating your rooms even after it has passed your regular comfortable temperature.