Now that winter is in full swing, we would like to address a common misconception regarding thermostat operation, and one that is probably driving up your energy bill: the idea that setting your thermostat higher will warm your home more quickly. We wish we could tell you that this is true, but cranking the heat way up will not do the trick. The explanation is simple: your system can only do so much at one time. Making any indoor climate change takes time as your unit cycles on and off, and you cannot speed this process up.
So, how should you set your thermostat so that your heater is operating at peak performance this winter? Read on for two hacks to keep your indoor environment comfortable and your energy bill reasonable this season.
We cannot overstate the importance of programming your thermostat during the winter months. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, make it a priority to remember to adjust your thermostat at different times of the day.
Setting your thermostat around 5 degrees lower than normal when you are away from your home will help lower your energy bills while reducing wear on your HVAC system. The US Department of Energy notes the efficacy of this approach, and also clarifies an important point: “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.”
Some families are simply accustomed to enjoying an indoor environment on the warmer side. If this describes you, work toward maintaining a 68 degree environment when everyone is home. You do not have to make this change all at once; if you regularly set your thermostat to, say, 72 degrees, try lowering the temperature by one degree each day until everyone has had time to adjust to a cooler indoor climate.
Once you have made this change, work toward lowering the heat 3-5 degrees overnight. These adjustments will not only benefit your energy bill; they will ease the burden on your HVAC system and keep it running smoothly all winter long.
NJ LIC. NO.13VH01727600
Robert W. Vaughan,
Master HVACR Contractor Lic. # 5842
Thomas J. Weaver,
Master Plumber Lic # 9521