Lots of customers we work with would just love to have thermostat settings that stay “perfect” or “totally efficient.” But often enough it’s not your thermostat or control system settings – it’s your house!
The wide variation in houses, insulation levels, and heating systems mean that you can’t really guesstimate energy costs based just on thermostat settings. You might save 1% on energy cost for every degree that you set your thermostat down, but then again, you might not. For example, setting the thermostat down 10 degrees for 8 hours when the house is empty will save some homeowners 10% off the next energy bill – but it simply won’t save all homes that same amount.
Before we get to talking about ideal thermostat settings for winter, it’s important to mention that only if your home is really properly insulated can you really control what’s going on with just your thermostat settings. All the outside walls and attic spaces need to have good layers of insulation installed. Windows and doors need to have good weatherstripping and sweeps at the bottom. Window joints can be caulked or re-caulked in a good weekend, and it’s a good project for the kids if they’re not too young.
Also, consider your window coverings and how much light is getting in during the day, and how much cold is seeping in at night. A set of heavy drapes can also give you better control of indoor heat without even touching the thermostat settings.
Thermostat Settings for Winter
Modern, programmable controls for your furnace can really take all the magic out of finding the perfect thermostat settings for winter. Just like a fussy old man, a programmable thermostat will set the temperature up when you’re getting ready for bed, and down when the thermostat is confident you’re sleeping. The old man will get up extra early to warm up the house before you get up. Your programmable thermostat will even shut your furnace almost completely down during the day when you’re off to work, and the kids are off to school.
Optimal thermostat settings for winter depend on your preferences, the insulation level, age and size of your home and your willingness to automate some of the heating. One of the most wasteful things you can do is to set your thermostat too high in order to warm the house faster. You will spend a lot more on energy costs if you do that too often. Rather, consider these tips:
During the day, if you’ll be home, 68°F is optimal. Families with smaller kids often want to set it higher but 70°F – 72°F is the recommended max (even for most thermostats).
At night, many homeowners will drop it down to 62°F or a bit lower at night for sleeping. But you’ll want to insure that it isn’t turned up much higher than 68°F on extra cold mornings.
If you won’t be home, drop it down to 58°F. But be prepared for a cold home when you get back. You shouldn’t have to blast the furnace because you likely won’t get it warmer faster
Digital thermostats are your best bet, they come with preset temperature and time settings that will work with most homes and lifestyles. Just use the thermostat’s factory settings and you’re all set to stay warm throughout the day and night while saving money!
Thick blankets and warm clothes are another big help. Adjusting your winter thermostat settings is a lot less urgent when you’re wearing a wooly sweater. So bundle up, enjoy a nice warm blanket and get the warm good nights sleep you deserve! If you have any questions about thermostat settings for winter, please call us at 646-783-2475.
Filed under: Energy Efficiency