Many of us want to know whether it’s true: if you set your thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer months when you leave your home, does it save you money?
People on one end of the argument have said that if you turn the temperature up a few degrees when you don’t need the house as cool (or down when in the winter months), then you’ll negate any savings when you turn the temperature back down (or up in the winter).
Although that logic might sound possible, it’s not true.
The Truth About Using a Programmable Thermostat
Instead, setting your thermostat to a warmer temperature while you are away in the summer, then decreasing the setting again when you need cooling, does save you money.
Just how much money could be saved using this strategy? According to the Department of Energy, if you set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees when you leave or go to sleep, it can save you 5 to 15 percent on your energy bill over a year. (See the article here.)
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking just a few minutes out of your day to set the thermostat.
Here’s another way of looking at it: if you set your thermostat to 76-78 degrees when you’re home, and off when you are not home, you will likely use 1-3 percent less energy per degree that the thermostat is set above 72. (Source: My Energy.)
While that estimated savings from setting your temperature back is greater for buildings or homes in milder climates, than for those in more severe climates, you can save money by taking advantage of your thermostats settings. For many of us, this is especially easy when you have a programmable thermostat (unless you have heat pumps—in certain cases) you can set and not worry about.
If you have heat pumps, electric resistance heating or steam heat, talk to us and we can help you implement a strategy that is the most cost-effective. If your digital thermostat is overly complicated, ask us for help to set up your system, which you can typically do on a daily and/or weekly programming schedule.
Here’s another scenario to consider: think about a normal temperature of a building or home to be around 68 degrees. When your house temperature drops below normal, it loses heat to the environment much more slowly than it does when the heat is at its normal temperature of 68. If you’re home is using less energy to heat, and then there is less heat lost to the environment, that means there is more savings for the homeowner!
Those savings are not negated when you turn the thermostat back up. With that said, avoid changing the thermostat to a colder setting than normal when you do return home and change the settings. You will not cool your home any faster, and this kind of action could result in greater energy expenses because you might excessively cool your home.
Set It & Save
If you are going on vacation, spend a lot of time away from the home, or you want to save a lot of money while you sleep, be sure to adjust your thermostat to take advantage of these cost savings.
Need help operating your thermostat for maximum energy savings? Let us know.