For several hours a day you’re away at work, or maybe at school. Yet your HVAC system continues to run, despite the house being empty. This needs a lot of energy and wastes money. You can significantly reduce this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down as you head to work and setting it back to your desired temperature when you come home. But how much should you adjust it?
Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat settings:
You can save around 10% a year on HVAC costs by just adjusting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is larger for buildings in cooler climates than for those in more dynamic climates.
The tinier the variation between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the less expensive your complete cooling bill will be. You can comfortably save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to about 68°F while you're awake and setting it down while you're sleeping or away from home. In the summer, you can use the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are gone and adjusting the thermostat to a setting as warm as you can manage comfortably when you are at home and want cooling and to provide humidity control if required.
You may have been told that making these adjustments are not worth it because your comfort system has to work even harder to get back to your desired temperature, reversing your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, especially for heaters: “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 every time you leave for work, it’s easy to overlook in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one advantage of programmable and smart thermostats. You can set your thermostat to automatically change to a higher or lower temperature through your average work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can increase or decrease the temperature (or the programming schedule) from your smartphone or similar device. This is especially helpful if you’ve forgotten to adjust the setting before leaving for a trip.
Remember the Pets
If you own pets, consider their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with short fur might not be pleased with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Because temperature tolerances deviate widely by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
Other Benefits of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The more often you run your heating and air conditioning, the more carbon emissions you produce. Preserving energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overusing your HVAC system can reduce its life expectancy and cause more maintenance to be necessary. 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 features, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, get in touch with the specialists at Parker Pearce Service Experts, a big company with homegrown heart. We’re enthusiastic about making the world a cozy place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water flow, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and content.
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