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Over 90% of households in the United States have HVAC systems to protect them from severe temperatures during the cold winter and hot summer seasons. Yet many homeowners still struggle to understand the best thermostat settings for their homes during various seasons throughout the year.
According to a study conducted by the United States Department of Energy, adjusting your home’s temperature setting by 7 – 10 deg F for 8 hours a day from the normal settings can reduce your HVAC energy bill by up to 10% every year. Therefore, knowing the right temperature to set your thermostat will help you save money on your heating & cooling bill, without compromising your home’s comfort.
But, what are the recommended thermostat settings for summer and winter? This post will show you some of the best temperature settings you can use throughout the year to maximize your energy saving. Better still, this will provide comfort and convenience in your indoor environment and help to end thermostat conflict in your home.
Let’s get into it!
Recommended Thermostat settings for winter
Heating your home in winter consumes a lot of energy, yet natural gas prices are expected to increase by up to 30% than last winter. For that, you need to look for a way to minimize your heating costs, while keeping your family warm throughout the cold months. One way to accomplish that is to select the best temperature setting for winter that will keep your home’s temperature at the ideal comfort level. However, you need to consider other factors like your home size, number of occupants, and time of the day when setting the thermostat./
Typically, the best temperature setting for a thermostat during winter is around 68 deg F during the day. This temperature is comfortable for most people since it’s not too hot or too cold. If you’ve got a health condition that requires you to keep your indoor space home the recommended temperature for winter is 70 deg F. This will ensure that you are comfortable indoors and prevent any health complications. On the other hand, if you want to significantly reduce your energy bill, consider lowering the temperature to 60 deg F. Doing so will help you lower your energy bill by about 5 – 10% annually.
In addition, studies have shown that most people prefer sleeping and getting better rest in a slightly cooler atmosphere. For that, you might want to consider reducing your thermostat settings before you head off to bed. Specifically, The US Department of Energy recommends turning down the thermostat setting to 55 deg F during winter when you’re asleep or out of the house. This will help you to save energy and lower your heating bill during the cold winter months.
Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer
The US Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat at a temperature of 78 deg F when the home is occupied, and 85 deg F when you’re not at home. Although this thermostat setting might make your home a bit warmer than you are used to, it will help to significantly reduce your cooling bills. In addition, the agency advises homeowners to shut off the air conditioner when they’re away to save energy and lower the cooling costs.
Alternatively, you might want to consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This will make it easy to monitor your home’s temperature when you’re away and make the necessary adjustments. Even better, you can set the thermostat to start cooling shortly before you get home to ensure the temperature is at the perfect level when you arrive at the door.
Best Thermostat Setting for Fall and Spring
Keeping your energy costs low with optimal temperature settings during fall and spring can be a bit challenging. This is because weather conditions are usually unpredictable during these seasons with large temperature fluctuations. For that reason, you have to set both a lower and upper limit on your programmable thermostat for your air conditioner and heating system. In comparison, you only need to set a higher limit for your air conditioner in summer, and a lower limit for your heating device during the winter.
That said, the best thermostat setting for fall and spring usually requires you to set the desired temperature and put the thermostat on ‘Auto’ mode. Also, remember to set the ‘Deadband’, which is the range below and above the temperature when it does not run your HVAC system. For instance, if you want to heat the house when it’s below 68 deg F and cool it when it’s above 78 deg F, you can set your thermostat at 73 deg F and a deadband of 10 deg F.
Other ways to lower your energy bills apart from recommended thermostat settings for summer and winter
The recommended thermostat settings for summer and winter help to lower your utility bills while maintaining comfortable indoor conditions. Other techniques that can have a significant impact on your energy bill during winter and summer include;
Upgrading to a programmable thermostat
Investing in a programmable or smart thermostat like Google Nest will help to lower your heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Specifically, a programmable thermostat can automatically adjust your home’s thermostat by up to 6 times per day. This will allow you to run a scheduled cooling and heating program without having to manually change your thermostat settings throughout the day. However, you can also override these automatic settings manually at any time without interrupting the weekly or daily programming.
To get the most out of your programmable thermostat, lower the thermostat settings at night when you’re sleeping to improve sleep quality and reduce heating costs. Also, reduce the home temperature when you’re away for more than 2 hours. And if you’ve got a smart thermostat, connect it to your mobile device so that you can control the thermostat settings from anywhere!
Overall, there are many factors that can make you consider upgrading your home thermostat. In this case, installing a programmable thermostat in your home will help to keep your home’s heating & cooling schedule in control. More notable, installing a Google Nest smart thermostat will help you save up to 10 – 12% on your annual energy bills.
Slower lower the temperature settings
Once your family gets used to the cold winter weather, slowly lower your home’s temperature by as low as 1 degree F every week. Over time, everyone will become more comfortable with a lower temperature setting, thus reducing the heating costs. Although a difference of 1 deg F may seem like much, Energy Star claims that it can reduce your energy bills by up to 1% within a few days.
Maintain your heating & cooling system annually
If you don’t regularly maintain your HVAC system, your utility bills will always be high even if you have the most advanced multi-zone HVAC system and the best smart thermostat. To avoid that, schedule an HVAC system maintenance every spring and fall before summer or winter arrives. Proper heating and cooling system maintenance will ensure that your family stays comfortable during the summer and winter. Plus, this will help you to proactively determine potential issues before your system breaks down.
Consider a multi-zone heating & cooling system
Installing a multi-zone HVAC system allows you to set comfortable temperatures at various parts of your home. More important, each zone has its thermostat, allowing you to maintain different temperatures depending on the needs of specific zones throughout your house.
The only drawback with multi-zone HVAC systems is that they’re more costly and complex than standard heating & cooling systems. Other than that, they provide more control over the indoor temperature conditions throughout your home. For instance, it allows you to keep the temperature in living spaces at 72 deg F, and reduce the bedroom temperature to about 68 deg F. However, the ideal thermostat setting for each zone will be influenced by various factors such as the time of the day.
Invest in a modern energy-efficient heating & cooling system
Lastly, if your existing HVAC system is more than 10 years old, it’s about time that you consider upgrading to a newer system. Recent HVAC systems are up to 15% more efficient, yet they produce the same heating and cooling loads, if not more than conventional models.
To sum up, the recommended thermostat settings for summer and winter are 68 and 78 deg F respectively. However, since everyone has a different comfort level, you can select a thermostat temperature in summer and winter that works for your family. In essence, the perfect temperature for living spaces is around 70 deg F, while bedrooms are a bit cooler at 67 deg F. Also, you’re advised to lower the thermostat settings when your family is not in the house for more than 2 hours to conserve energy and lower your energy bills.