For many hours a day you’re away at work, or perhaps at school. Yet your HVAC system continues to run, despite the house being empty. This needs a ton of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly lower this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down as you leave for work and adjusting it back to your preferred temperature when you come home. But how much should you adjust it?
Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat changes:
You can save as much as 10% a year on HVAC costs by simply setting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day rather than its typical setting. The percentage of savings from setback is better for buildings in milder climates than for those in more extreme climates.
The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the less expensive your total cooling bill should be. You can comfortably save energy in the winter by lowering the thermostat to around 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 approach with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are at work and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you are at home and want cooling and to secure humidity control if necessary.
You could have been advised that doing these adjustments won't be worth the effort because your comfort system has to work harder to get back to your preferred temperature, using up your savings, but the energy department puts that notion to rest, 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
Despite the benefits of setting your thermostat every time you head to work, it’s easy to miss in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one advantage of programmable and smart thermostats. You can adjust your thermostat to automatically shift to a higher or lower temperature through your regular work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can change the temperature (or the programming schedule) from anywhere. This is especially helpful if you’ve neglected to fix the setting before leaving for a trip.
Always Remember the Pets
If you have a pet, consider their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be as happy with high temperatures. And pets with less dense fur might not be happy with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Considering temperature tolerances differ significantly by breed and species, look them up for your pets.
More Perks of Adjusting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away
- Carbon emissions - The harder you operate your heating and air conditioning, the more carbon emissions you produce. Conserving energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- HVAC Longevity - Overusing your HVAC unit can cut its longevity and cause more maintenance to be necessary. It also means the air filter will clog up more quickly, making your indoor air quality worse.
If you have any questions about your air conditioner settings, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, get in touch with the specialists at McElroy Service Experts, a big company with hometown heart. We’re serious about making the world a comfortable place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and content.
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