Thermostat Expectations and Misconceptions

Many people will throw on comfortable clothes around the home, but during the winter, there is no need to wear shorts and a tee shirt. If you are doing so because you are warm, turn down the thermostat! If you are cranking up the thermostat to make the home warm enough to wear shorts and a tee shirt around comfortably, you are wasting loads of money and gobs of energy. Throw on a sweater and consider some of these thermostat tips!

Saving Energy by Setting the Thermostat

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F (20°C) when you’re at home and awake, and lowering it when you’re asleep or away. This strategy is effective and inexpensive if you are willing to adjust the thermostat by hand and wake up in a chilly house. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning too! You can do this by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling.

Energy Saved is Equal to Energy Expended

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. This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel required to reheat a building to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as the building drops to the lower temperature. You save fuel between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time the temperature is raised. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save.

A Final Misconception about Thermostats

Another misconception is that the higher you raise a thermostat, the more heat the furnace will put out, or that the house will warm up faster if the thermostat is raised higher. Furnaces put out the same amount of heat no matter how high the thermostat is set. The variable is how long the unit must stay on to reach the set temperature. If you set the temperature drastically high, you run the risk of wasting energy when the home is overheated. Pay attention to your thermostat this winter and you could save some money on your energy bills.


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