There’s no getting around it — pretty much wherever you live in this country, except southern Florida, southern California, or Death Valley, colder temperatures are setting in. Now is the best time to change your settings on your thermostat to account for the seasonal change. You can make the most of your thermostat this season by purchasing a programmable unit and incorporating settings that will optimize the efficiency of your heating system.
Setting a programmable thermostat for winter will keep you comfortable without adjusting temperatures manually. Take the time to program your thermostat to reduce the temptation to touch it, cranking temperatures up down, or worse yet, up and then forgetting you did so, will raise your utility bills. Overriding the settings regularly on your programmable thermostat will prevent it from helping your family reduce energy use, which is one of its main purposes.
Setting your thermostat to 68° when you are at home is optimal. 68° has been found to be the most energy-efficient setting for home heating use in most cases. At this temperature, your indoor spaces will still feel warm and you’ll save substantially on utility bills compared to raising your thermostat’s settings into the 70s or above.
The U.S. Department of Energy says – “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”. Of course, the percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates … but you get the point.
While you sleep is another great time to set back your thermostat to achieve savings. When sleeping, you are probably not going to notice the change in temperature, especially if you are under some toasty warm blankets … or have a snuggle-buddy in bed with you. Just remember to keep those cold feet on your side of the bed! Also, don’t forget to program your thermostat to raise the temperature back up, about 15 minutes before you wake. This way the house will be comfortable for showering and getting ready for the day.
Programmable thermostats can not only save you money and make you ultimately more comfortable, they also replace old mercury thermostats, which are an environmental hazard. Did you know that:
- Mercury cannot be destroyed – but it can be recycled and reused.
- Recycling mercury thermostats can be expensive because they are considered hazardous waste; the expense can lead to their illegal disposal or lack of disposal.
- In thirteen states, mercury thermostats cannot be thrown out with your regular trash. HVAC contractors are required by law to recycle all mercury thermostats they remove.
- In eight states, mercury thermostats are banned from being installed.
Bottom line, if you contact a reputable HVAC specialist, they can install an efficient programmable thermostat, get rid of the hazardous mercury and save you and your family money on utilities … we call that a win, win, win!