Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Saving Tips: Maintain a Constant Thermostat Temperature



I don't know what the temperatures are like where you live right now, but around our place it has started getting cold over the past month or so. By cold I mean below freezing at night and not getting above about 45 F during the day; it's not like I live in the Arctic or anything, but i don't live in the tropics yet either. I figured that since this is the season of increasing heating costs, now would be a good time to divulge this little secrete that we came across a few years ago and have been using to save money on our heating bill ever since.

Maintain a Constant Thermostat Temperature

While it might seem logical to only require a warm house during the few waking hours that you might be home beware of allowing your thermostat to fluctuate your houses temperatures. Most of the energy that you are going to use in heating your house will be consumed in trying to rapidly increase the temperature throughout your whole house after you allow the temperature to fall.

I like to think of it as driving in the city, full of stop and go traffic and lights versus setting your cruise control at an even 55 mph out on an empty country highway and just cruising. I doubt that there is anyone that would agree that (in a typical vehicle) you will get considerably better gas millage cruising at 55 than racing from stoplight to stoplight in the city.

Guess what, our heaters operate the same way. Every time you let your house cool off your heating system has to ramp up its energy usage to pump out enough heat to quickly get it back up to the new temperature. It's like punching the gas in your car as soon as the light turns green.

Our first winter in this home we fell into the trap of thinking that it would save us money by allowing the temperature to drop to around 55 F during the nights since we were all cuddled up warm in our blankets, but our average electric bill that winter was around $300 per month (our house is entirely electric). But the past 2 winters we have allowed it to maintain a constant temperature and our electric bill dropped to an average of about $175 per month.

Instead I'd like to challenge you to give this a try. Set the thermostat at a temperature and forget that you can adjust it. When a rep from our electric company came a did a home energy audit for us he told us that the ideal temperature for seeing savings is about 68 F. For every degree above that it costs about $20 a month and for every degree below that it saves about $8 a month. (*Note: these were their estimates based of national averages.)

What we have found that works best for us is to set our maximum temperature at 76 F and the minimum temperature at 64 F and just leave it alone all year long.