The winter is long, dark, and cold and to combat that many of us like to turn up the heat in our homes. Many of us try to make the most of the season by snuggling up in the comfiest blankets, pulling on woolen socks, sipping mugs of hot cocoa, and cranking up the thermostat. There are so many of us that love to turn up the heat in our homes to remind us of warmer days. Unfortunately doing this can rack up high energy bills, costing us lots of money.
Why Turning Your Heat Down Saves You Money
If you’re looking to save some money this winter, consider turning down your thermostat for 8 hours a day. According to the United States Department of Energy, turning down your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours each day can save you up to 10 percent each year on your heating bills. They suggest setting your thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re awake at home and lowering it while you sleep and when you’re not at home.
One of the most common misconceptions associated with furnaces is that it works harder than normal to warm a space back up after the thermostat has been turned down. Luckily that’s not the case. When your home drops below its normal temperature it actually loses energy more slowly. The lower the temperature inside your home, the slower it loses heat.
Keeping your home at a lower temperature will save you more money because it has lost less energy than it would have if the thermostat had been set at a higher temperature. This concept also applies to how you set the thermostat in the summer.
How much money can you save on your energy bills by turning down your thermostat? According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, each degree you set back on your thermostat full-time can save you roughly three percent on your monthly heating bill.
How to Control the Temperature in Your Home
A simple way to keep track of your home’s interior temperature is by installing a programmable thermostat. The most common programmable thermostats are either:
- Digital – This type of thermostat offers the most features. Digital thermostats measure the temperature using a thermometer or sensors. They allow you to make adjustments for daylight savings, override programs, and so much more. Smart thermostats, which are the newest version of digital thermostats, can even be controlled using an app on your phone making them even more efficient.
- Analog – Many analog thermostats give you the option to set up basic heating programs, but don’t provide as many options as digital does.
Your thermostat’s location in your home can also affect how well it works. Make sure your thermostat is installed in a room that has natural air movement. It shouldn’t be blocked by any furniture and should be in a place where it is easy to reach and adjust. Your thermostat will work best when it is placed on an interior wall that is away from:
- Direct Sunlight
It’s also really important to consider your daily routine when you program your thermostat. If you prefer your home to be cooler when you sleep, set your thermostat lower before you actually go to bed. It’s also a good idea to set the temperature lower when the house is unoccupied for four or more hours.
Things that can Affect Your Energy Savings
Turning down your thermostat and setting up programs to keep track of it can help to cut your energy costs– but there are other factors that could affect your savings. It’s important to make sure that your furnace is energy efficient. An easy way to make sure is by checking if it has been verified by the Energy Star program.
It’s important to take care of your furnace system. As it ages, it will lose its efficiency. It’s important to keep up with regular maintenance such as tuneups and other regular maintenance services and changing your filters when they become visibly dirty.
The size of your system can also have an effect on your energy costs as well. If your furnace is too small it could run far more often than it needs to. If the system is too large for your home, it may constantly cycle on and off. This energy-wasting process is known as “short cycling.”
Easy Ways to Keep Warm this Winter
- Dress Warmly – Cozy up in a nice sweater with warm socks and slippers while you’re inside.
- Eat and Drink Things that will Warm You Up – Winter is the perfect time to make meals like soups and stews. Treat yourself to hot cocoa, apple cider, or a delicious cocktail. They perfect at warming you up from the inside out.
- Get Active! – During the cooler months it’s important to stay as active as possible to give your circulation a boost. Incorporating even light exercise into your routine can help keep you warm. Try to move around at least once an hour and try not to sit still for long periods of time.
- Get Some Extra Heat with a Space Heater – If you find that some of your rooms are colder than others, invest in an energy-efficient space heater. This simple device can help create the optimal living space for you this winter.
- Purchase and Electric Blanket – An electric blanket is a great way to keep yourself comfy and warm this winter when you start to get chilly.