The ideal temperature of your HVAC system should provide you with comfort and convenience inside your home. For this reason, the thermostat settings are vital for your indoor environment. Not only do the settings affect your comfort level, but they also impact your energy savings. While it is easy to say you should adjust your settings according to your preferences and habits, here, we’ll explore what the ideal settings should be for your home comfort.
The recommended thermostat settings depend on a number of factors including the temperature outside. During periods of warmer weather, the typical recommendation is to set your cooling equipment to 78ºF when you’re at home. It is estimated that every degree above 78ºF on your thermostat in summer could save six to eight percent off your energy bills. So, if you won’t be home for several hours, it is a good idea to raise the thermostat setting to 88ºF. This will save energy while you’re away, but allow you to bring the temperature back down to your optimum comfort level when you return.
During the winter months, you should adjust your thermostat settings to whether you are at home or your house is empty. Keeping your thermostat set at 68ºF during the day will allow you to keep your energy costs in check. Reports by Energy.gov show that lowering a thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours each day could reduce your annual energy usage by as much as 15 percent.
Depending on your personal comfort preferences, it is usually a good idea to lower your thermostat settings at night. It is often considered more comfortable to sleep using winter blankets to regulate your warmth in a cooler environment.
The Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat
Since balancing these thermostat settings to accomplish optimum comfort while offering energy savings is challenging, you may wish to consider installing a programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat upgrade will allow you to schedule your heating and cooling settings without needing to remember each time you need to manually change your settings.
Most programmable thermostat models can automatically adjust your heating and cooling settings multiple times each day. This allows you to have your heating or cooling come on and off as you go about your typical day. It is also possible to manually override any automatic settings without interrupting the programming if you break with your usual habits or feel particularly uncomfortable at any time.
Many smart thermostat models are also compatible with smartphone apps, so you can control your heating and cooling system even if you’re not at home. This will allow you to make adjustments on the go, so you don’t need to worry about your heating being left on if you leave in a hurry one morning.
When you program your thermostat, you need to think about your typical schedule and your personal preferences. Consider whether you prefer sleeping in a cool room. If so, you should set your thermostat to drop the temperature an hour before your usual bedtime. Before you’re due to wake up, have your thermostat come on to warm the house up. You also need to think about adjusting the thermostat settings when your home is empty during the day. If your home will be empty for more than four hours, adjusting the temperature by 5 to 8 degrees, up in summer and down in winter, can provide significant energy savings.
Consider Thermostat Placement
If you are planning on upgrading your thermostat, it is a good time to consider your thermostat placement. Your thermostat should be installed away from any cooling or heating registers. It should be kept away from doorways, lighting, fireplaces, appliances, windows, skylights or any area that receives drafts or direct sunlight. An interior wall is usually the best placement, but your HVAC technician will be able to help you to identify the best location for your new thermostat.
Other Thermostat Considerations
Your thermostat should be set at an energy saving temperature for extended periods of time. For example, at bedtime or when no one is home, you need to switch to your default energy saving temperature. Don’t forget to set your “hold” button for constant energy saving temperatures if you are going away on vacation or just for the weekend.
You also need to change the batteries in your thermostat each year. The full instructions for changing the batteries for your specific thermostat are detailed in your owner’s manual and some models may flash a low battery warning, but others will need to be checked periodically. When the batteries are starting to get low, you may notice that your thermostat does not respond promptly to any changed settings or may not respond at all. So, it is worth checking the batteries if you are experiencing any thermostat issues.
Finally, you need to consider that the comfort level of any home is determined by those living in it. When you evaluate your settings, you need to think about what temperatures will provide the personal comfort appropriate for your family, while offering cost efficiency. While some people prefer a warm and cozy environment, while others prefer to keep their home cooler. If you’ve not been consciously managing your settings, you may be surprised at how making subtle adjustments will provide you with similar comfort, while offering energy savings.
Regardless of your personal preferences, adjusting the temperature by a couple of degrees will ultimately save you money on your energy bills. For example, if you’re home, you may typically opt for 72ºF, but try adjusting your settings down to 68ºF. During the night or if you’re away in the day, instead of 66ºF, try 62ºF.
Rather than focusing on perfect numbers, it is important to develop an energy efficiency heating strategy to stay warm with reasonable thermostat settings to avoid hefty energy bills. If you have concerns about your HVAC settings, speak to your HVAC technician. A professional technician can not only assess your system to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency, but also help you get the best use out of your thermostat for even more energy savings.