For plenty of hours a day you’re away at work, or maybe at school. Yet your HVAC system continues to run, without anybody home. This uses a lot of energy and costs you money. You can significantly reduce this cost by setting the thermostat up or down as you go to work and setting it back to your preferred temperature when you return home. But how much should the thermostat be adjusted?
Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat changes:
You can save around 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day rather than its typical setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in more temperate climates than for those in more severe climates.
The smaller the contrast between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the less expensive your overall cooling bill should be. You can effectively save energy during the winter by adjusting the thermostat to about 68°F while you're awake and turning it down while you're in bed or away from home. In the summer, you can practice the same approach with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are gone and tweaking the thermostat to a setting as warm as you can manage comfortably when you return and want cooling and to ensure humidity control if necessary.
You could have been told that doing these adjustments won't be worth the time because your comfort system has to work extra hard to get back to your preferred temperature, using up your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, 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 every time you go to work, it’s very easy to forget in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one advantage of programmable and smart thermostats. You can adjust your thermostat to automatically move 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 particularly helpful if you’ve neglected to change the setting before going on vacation.
Remember the Pets
If you own pets, consider their comfort too. Cats and dogs with dense fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with short fur may not be happy with cold temperatures. The same goes for tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Since temperature preferences differ universally by breed and species, so it helps to verify the ideal temperature range for your pets.
Other Benefits of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you run your heating and cooling, the more carbon emissions you produce. Saving energy minimizes air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Demanding too much from your HVAC system can diminish its longevity and cause more maintenance to be necessary. It also means the air filter can clog up faster, making your indoor air quality worse.
If you have any concerns about your air conditioner settings, or if you are looking for HVAC repair or maintenance, call the specialists at Finch Air Conditioning & Heating, a big company with local heart. We’re passionate about making the world a cozy place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities comfortable and satisfied.
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