This is a very common question that we hear often. The answer can be different for everyone so here are some basic questions to ask yourself first.
- How Regular is my Schedule?
- Is my comfort more important than my pocketbook?
- Do I have a high efficiency heating system?
- What type of heating system do I have?
After answering these questions you now have the information you need to help you determine how you should set your thermostat.
If your schedule is very regular, meaning you leave your home and come home around the same times everyday at least five days a week then a programmable thermostat will be suitable for your needs. Higher end programmable thermostats can program each day differently but still each day will always have to be the same, for instance if you get home at 7pm on Monday and Wednesday, but you’re home at 5 pm every other day. Programmable thermostats are great so you can set them and leave them.
Set for Comfort
If your comfort is most important to you, then absolutely set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature (usually between 70-74), and leave it there while you are home and awake. However, your energy bill will depend on how well your house is insulated and how many areas of heat loss there are in your home (ie windows and door) in conjunction with what type of heating system you have. Some systems in some houses will be very expensive to maintain 74 degrees while other homes may be able to maintain 74 degrees with minimal expense. During a cold front, your system will inevitably burn more fuel to maintain 74 than 68. A digital thermostat can help keep the cost down by maintaining a 1-degree difference between the set point on the thermostat and the actual temperature, but cooler temperatures outside will draw faster heat transfer causing the unit to cycle more often.
High-efficiency Heating Systems
If you have a high-efficiency heating system (meaning 90% efficient or higher) you will have less cost associated with maintaining higher temperatures.
Forced Air Furnaces
If you have a forced air furnace you will need to regulate your home’s temperature for when it is occupied and when it is unoccupied and for when you are awake and when you are asleep. If your home is insulated well and maintains the indoor climate you have created then you could set your unoccupied set point much lower below your occupied set point, however, if your house is not insulated well sometimes it’s beneficial to minimize the gap between your occupied set point and your unoccupied set point. Although if you have a small home, or if your home heats up very quickly then it can be beneficial to turn your thermostat very low just to be sure that pipes don’t freeze. If you have a radiant heating system it is best to set your thermostats to one temperature and leave them at that temperature all winter long. This is because radiant heat takes so much longer to warm up the house. Its best not to make temperature adjustments.
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