Adjusting your thermostat to save energy during colder weather
The recommended thermostat control setting from Energy.gov is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If this seems colder than you like it, try out these tips to increase your comfort.
- Try lowering the setting by one degree per week as fall temperatures make their entrance: You are less likely to notice the change when you ease into it. Begin lowering your thermostat by one degree each week until you achieve a comfortable setting.
- Try taking your thermostat one degree lower than your comfort zone: A significant amount of energy savings can be achieved with very little change. Try setting the thermostat at one degree lower than your usual temperature. You may not even notice the difference and it’s estimated that turning your thermostat down even a single degree can save you between one and three percent on your heating bill.
- Adjust for different levels of your home: Heat rises. If you have multiple levels in your home, you could modify your habits so that you are spending more time in the upper levels. You will be able to turn your thermostat down slightly and save energy while maintaining the same level of comfort.
- Change the temperature for sleep: Try setting your thermostat temperatures a little lower while you sleep. Aim for three to five degrees lower, depending on your comfort level. With additional clothing and an extra blanket, you can sleep just as soundly without the added energy costs.
- Modify temperatures for home and away: Try saving money while you make money with this thermostat tip. Turn back your thermostat while you work to conserve energy. According to the Department of Energy, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.” Vacations are ideal times for lower temperatures, also. Turn back the thermostat seven to ten degrees if you will be traveling to (hopefully) warmer climates and save a bundle on energy costs. Avoid turning the heat off because this can lead to other issues like frozen pipes.
A few small tweaks here and there can quickly add up those energy savings.
Programmable thermostat tips for winter energy savings
Programmable thermostats are an easy way to rake in the savings. Setting a schedule lets you benefit from the energy savings without needing to make daily adjustments to your thermostat controls. Here are some tips for setting energy-saving temps this winter:
- Program your thermostat to accommodate your schedule: Don’t use the same thermostat settings for every day of the week. Most people leave their homes during the week, spending extra time indoors on the weekend. Change your programmable thermostat’s program to reflect these times so that you aren’t using unnecessary energy when you aren’t home.
- Set thermostat controls to change temperatures 30 minutes prior to your need: If you can sleep comfortably at a lower temperature (the recommended sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit), set your thermostat to cooler temperatures 30 minutes before your habitual bedtime. The same should hold true for a 30-minute period before you wake up, leave for work, and arrive home in the evening. These minor adjustments can offer significant energy savings.
If you want to avoid the hassle of having to program your thermostat in response to your habits, consider a smart thermostat. Products such as the Nest and ecobee thermostats modify settings based on learned behavior patterns and can be controlled from a smartphone.
Additional home tips for winter temperatures
In addition to setting your thermostat appropriately, there are a few extra measures you can take to help your home heat more efficiently, save energy, and pocket a few extra bucks. Try these tips:
- Change your furnace filter: Regularly change out your furnace filter for optimum performance of your furnace.A new filter allows for better airflow and increased efficiency which you will see in energy savings.
- Upgrade your insulation: Modern insulation is more efficient and uses eco-friendly materials not common in older insulation. The higher the R value, the better the insulation will hold in the heat.
- Bring on the layers: Add extra layers to your clothing or blankets while at home. Experiment with lower temperatures to find your comfort zone.
- Go for a high-efficiency furnace: If your furnace is failing, try a high efficiency model when you upgrade. These modern furnaces consume less energy and can result in utility savings on your monthly bill.
Stave off the winter blues and go for green instead. Check out our tips for summer thermostat settings to get you through the last of this year’s heat.