Thermostat Tips That Can Save You Cold Hard Cash
In the old days, the heater was a simple matter controlled by a manually adjusted thermostat. Too cold and you moved the need to the red side. Too warm and you moved it to the blue side. It was a pretty simple affair that even kids could figure out. No surprise, the thermostat was usually installed at a height that kids couldn’t easily get to as a result. However, today’s modern thermostat, even without an Internet connection and all the digital possibilities, is a complicated mechanism. And it can be an extremely efficient control of temperature and climate in a home if used correctly. We’ve compiled some thermostat tips to help you get the most out of your home’s HVAC capabilities while paying the least.
Not proactively using one’s thermostat consciously creates a number of problems. Aside from expense, the home usually ends up heating unevenly. That can frequently create hot spots and cold spots, causing everyone to lose the value of the entire home and clump up where it’s warmer. Secondly, the increased demand can cause increased strain on a home heating system which eventually triggers larger repair bills. Finally, heavy demand causes everyone’s costs to go up in a community as demand increases versus supply.
The main advantage of the modern thermostat is its programmability. By using the feature alone, a homeowner can save hundreds of dollars a month in heating. Here’s how:
- If No One is Home, Don’t Run It – When the house is empty, there is no point in running the heater. It literally involves wasting a lot of energy that translates into a monthly bill for an empty home. Turn the dial down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will avoid freezing in the home but eliminate wasted heating as well.
- Don’t Battle Your Heater and Freezer – A hot house makes your refrigerator and freezer work that much harder. If you keep the house a bit cooler, it will easily translate into savings with less electrical demand from the cooling appliances.
- Adjust Slowly – Ever wonder how people can walk around in a T-shirt in Alaska? They adjust. If you adjust your own thermostat one degree lower a week, you will save more money and slowly adapt to a cooler temperature without feeling an abrupt cold change in your comfort level.
- Schedule a Cooler Evening – People generally sleep better when their environment is cooler. Reduce your home heating to around 70 degrees at night and you will have a better night of sleep with a blanket and a smaller heating bill.
- Reduce Your Thinking – Use a programmable thermostat. This is one of the biggest advantages of temperature control, allowing a homeowner to literally schedule out temperature around the house the entire week, day and night.
- Let the Crowd Generate Hot Air – If you are going to have a party with lots of people, use their heat to boost the room temperature instead of your heater. Every person is putting out hot air, literally, and crowd of 10 or 20 will heat up a room naturally. Take advantage of that fact and save some money on party night.
- Don’t Forget the Batteries – Programmable thermostats only work well when they are on, so if the battery runs out, it defeats the entire purpose of the machine. Keep the batteries fresh and replaced annually.
- Winter Thrifty – Don’t let your heating limit get above 68 or 70 during the winter. It’s a comfortable level of heating and a simple sweater can avoid running the system higher and spending $20 that night in heating.
- Maintain your System – Expensive heating problems happen because people ignore their systems. Maintain your heater with a technician check at least once a year if not twice. And change your system filter monthly. Just a clean filter alone will prolong the heater life considerably.
- Use a Fireplace – The heat generated from a fireplace can be considerable for the room it is in, entirely negating the need for heating. Just make sure that you burn on an allowable night as many neighborhoods now have non-burning nights due to new ordinances.
With rising energy prices in heating oil, gas and electricity, your home thermostat can literally be your best friend in personal cost control. However, the homeowner needs to be proactive in using it effectively. A thermostat won’t change and adjust to winter settings on its own (at least not yet although there are some amazing new ideas on the horizon for smart home settings). Your bank account will appreciate the attention when it comes time to pay the monthly bill, and your heating system will last a lot longer from less strain and demand as well.