Most homeowners adjust their thermostats to account for the plummeting temperatures of winter weather, the rising heat of summer, or both. Or perhaps you simply fiddle with the dial throughout the year as needed to keep your home comfortable. Some people simply keep their thermostat at the same setting year-round, regardless of what’s going on outside. But if you like the idea of saving some money on your heating and cooling costs, the way you use your thermostat can play a significant role in how much you end up paying. Of course you want to be comfortable in your home, but you probably don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the luxury. And you certainly don’t want to pay for heated or cooled air that you’re not even home to enjoy. So here are just a few ways in which you can adjust your thermostat accordingly to save some dough and stay comfortable in the process.
The first thing you might want to do, if you haven’t done so already, is upgrade to a digital, programmable thermostat. While you can certainly adjust an old-school dial manually, this could become a rather tedious task if you have to do it every day, or even multiple times a day. And in all honesty, dial thermostats aren’t terribly accurate to begin with, so maintaining a specific temperature is kind of hit or miss. Modern, digital thermostats are a much safer bet if you want to control your interior temperature and engineer the greatest energy efficiency where your HVAC usage is concerned.
Plus, many modern thermostats come with wireless, smart home options these days that allow you to make adjustments remotely using your smartphone or table, so you can change the temperature in your home from afar and even lock the system if you don’t want other family members messing with the settings. Once you have the appropriate products in place, it’s a lot easier to save money, and you should start by programming your thermostat to account for daily temperature shifts. What this means is adjusting the thermostat by several degrees during times when you’re not home or the family is sleeping.
The Department of Energy recommends setting your heat to no warmer than 68? Fahrenheit in the winter and your air conditioning to no colder than 78? in summer. This should keep your home at a relatively comfortable temperature that nearly everyone in your household can live with (or adjust to by wearing more or less clothing). And you should know that every degree you adjust your thermostat (up in summer and down in winter) to account for time that you’re not home can save you an estimated 1% on your energy bill for the month. So if you adjust the recommended 10-15 degrees during the eight hours a day the family is gone at work and school, you could see savings of up to 15%.
Of course, you still need to consider other components of home energy efficiency. No matter how smart you are when it comes to setting your thermostat, you won’t realize maximum savings without taking other steps. For example, you should conduct a home energy audit to find and address areas of energy waste. And you may want to consider why your HVAC contractor should be NATE certified if you want to see the best results from annual HVAC maintenance. But when you take a comprehensive approach to energy savings, starting with adjusting your thermostat appropriately, you’re going to cut your carbon footprint and your utility bills in the process.