HVAC Tips / December 15, 2020

Common Questions About Thermostat Settings

What is the ideal thermostat setting in the winter? Home heating costs make up nearly 42 percent of the average American household’s utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Before you pick or program a selection, take a look at what you need to know about thermostats, winter weather in San Diego, and the best setting for your home.

Is There One Perfect Winter-Time Thermostat Setting?

The answer to this question is yes — and no. There is a perfect winter-time thermostat setting. But it isn’t the same for every home or furnace. The purpose of a home heating system is to keep the indoor environment at a steady (warm) temperature. While a high thermostat setting can easily accomplish this goal, it can come at a cost.

The higher you turn up the thermostat, the more the furnace needs to work. This can result in increased energy needs and related higher utility costs. Your home’s ideal thermostat setting is a temperature that combines indoor comfort with energy efficiency. If you prefer a cozy sense of warmth 24/7, you may need to choose a higher setting. Homeowners who like a crisp indoor environment can set the thermostat lower.

Is One Setting Ideal for the Entire Winter?

You’ve found what you believe is the perfect thermostat setting. Even though the December or January temperature may work well for the early winter chill, it’s possible you may need to adjust the setting as the season progresses. The overall outdoor air temperature and changes to your home can impact the setting over the course of the winter months.

Home upgrades such as high-quality replacement windows, window film, and insulation can help to hold the heat inside your home. The resulting warm interior environment may allow you to decrease the thermostat setting. If your heating bills are high, and a lower setting leaves your home cold, you can make these changes during the winter months.

Is There a Way to Lower the Thermostat Setting and Stay Warm?

A 7-10 degree Fahrenheit change for eight hours a day can reduce heating bills by up to 10 percent in a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. While a lower thermostat setting can save you money in home utility costs, this strategy isn’t ideal if your home lacks insulation, has poor quality windows, or you prefer a warmer indoor environment.

Can you get the cost-savings benefits of a lower thermostat setting without sacrificing your comfort indoors? To maximize home heating (and the resulting warmth) and minimize your costs, choose specific times of the day/night to change your thermostat’s setting. Instead of a lower setting when you’re at home and awake, decrease the temperature when you’re at work or asleep.

A programmable or smart thermostat allows you to make these changes in advance or remotely. This allows you to set several different best temperatures for different parts of the day. If your existing HVAC system doesn’t have a programmable or smart thermostat, contact a Mauzy qualified heating expert to install a new model.

Will the Ideal Setting Stay the Same Every Year?

The outdoor air temperature doesn’t only change over the winter months. One year could have frigidly cold evenings, while the next feels more like spring. Your home’s ideal temperature setting may vary by year — based on these annual weather-related changes.

Along with San Diego’s annual weather high’s and low’s, a change in your heating system can impact the ideal thermostat setting. New high-efficiency furnaces have higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) values. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more fuel the furnace turns usable heat. The addition of a new heating system may allow you to set the thermostat at a lower temperature and still maintain interior comfort.

Does your home need a new heater or thermostat? Contact Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar for more information.

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