Learn to control your thermostat for optimal energy savings
There’s a commonly held belief that it’s not worth turning down your thermostat when you leave for work each day because you use up more energy when you turn it back on later. But no other than the U.S. Department of Energy reported that isn’t true.
When the house temperature is reduced, the dwelling actually loses heat very slowly. Then, with the house at a lower temperature, less energy is used than if it was kept up throughout the day. So lowering the thermostat at night when you’re snug under lots of covers or while you’re at your workplace will make a significant dent in your energy bills.
At times, particularly during the spring and fall before when the weather is chilly but not all-out cold, you can turn to other heating resources and not run the furnace at all. Ceramic space heaters are a good alternative that will heat only the areas where you need warmth most and leave unoccupied spaces alone. Even with the onset of winter and the furnace being used, electric heaters provide a sensible way to heat a small area of your home.
Efficient ways to save
Don’t be tempted to lower your thermostat to a dangerous level. The house temperature should be kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to prevent pipes from freezing. That’s an important point to remember, particularly if you’re leaving on vacation or even just going away for the weekend.
When you’re expecting a large crowd at your house, it’s OK to lower the thermostat because there will be a lot more body heat transmitted into the home. If the main gathering room should get cold, turn on a portable heater to take the chill out of the air.
Finally, to take the guesswork out of heating your home, install a programmable thermostat to adjust the energy output to a pre-set schedule. This may require some adjustment as you move from late summer to fall, fall to winter, and winter to spring but having the preset program gives you greater control over your heat.
Check out the DOE’s recommended schedule for families that spend a good chunk of time at work and school. From early morning until nighttime, it charts times when the temperature can be lowered or raised for maximum efficiency. Even if your thermostat isn’t programmable, you can create a schedule for yourself and make adjustments manually.
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