For many hours a day you’re gone at work, or perhaps at school. Yet your HVAC system keeps working, despite the house being empty. This uses up a good deal of energy and feels like wasting money. You can dramatically reduce this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down when you head to work and adjusting it back to your desired temperature when you get home. But how much should the thermostat be adjusted?
Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat settings:
You can save up to 10% a year on HVAC costs by just setting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its usual setting. The percentage of savings from setback is better for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.
The smaller the contrast between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the more affordable your complete cooling bill can be. You can comfortably save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to something like 68°F while you're awake and turning it lower while you're asleep or away from home. During the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away and adjusting the thermostat to a setting as high as you're comfortable with when you're home and want cooling and to secure humidity control if required.
You could have been told that doing these adjustments aren’t worth the time because your HVAC has to work even harder to get back to your favored temperature, using up your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, especially 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
Even with the benefits of adjusting your thermostat each time you head to work, it’s not hard to miss in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one advantage of programmable and smart thermostats. You can instruct your thermostat to automatically move to another temperature during your average work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can increase or decrease the temperature (or the programming schedule) remotely. This is very helpful if you’ve forgotten to change the setting before leaving for a trip.
Always Remember the Pets
If you have pets at home, give consideration to their comfort too. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with short fur won't always be happy with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Considering temperature tolerances deviate widely by breed and species, so review them for your pets.
Additional Benefits of Adjusting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more you use your heating and air conditioning, the more carbon emissions you produce. Conserving energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overworking your HVAC system can cut its longevity and cause increased maintenance to be needed. It also means the air filter may clog up sooner, making your indoor air supply worse.
If you have any ideas about your air conditioner features, or if you are looking for HVAC repair or maintenance, call the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a big company with local heart. We’re passionate about making the world a comfy place to live. Whether we’re keeping things warm, cooling things down or making the water run, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and content.
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