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Recommended Thermostat Settings for Home Comfort

by Stewart Unsdorfer

Apr 17, 2014 7:00:00 AM

recommended-thermostat-settings-for-home-comfortYour home's heating and cooling system should provide convenience and comfort to your indoor environment. Today, many homeowners are concerned about controlling their energy budgets and usage, while still maintaining the comfort they desire in the home.

Free Bonus Download: Download our Cheat sheet for Recommended Thermostat Settings in PDF format. Easily save it to your computer or print it out for reference when the seasons change.

One simple solution to managing your heating and cooling system is to adjust your thermostat settings, according to your habits and preferences. Consider, "What temperature settings will provide personal comfort and cost efficiency for you?" Here, we discuss recommended thermostat settings that offer adequate comfort for most people and are sure to save you money on your utility bills.

Recommended Thermostat Settings  

During the warm weather, it is generally recommended that you set your home's cooling system to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home. If you will be out of the house for four or more hours, consider raising the setting so the cooling system only comes on if the temperature tops 88 degrees Fahrenheit. It is estimated that for every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months, you could save approximately six to eight percent off your home energy bill, per degree.

So, keeping your home's temperature slightly higher and using the best settings for spring and summer can ultimately help save you money. Later in this article, we give an overview of the benefits of installing a programming thermostat to easily manage your thermostat throughout the day. 

In the winter, you can save energy and keep your costs in check by keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you are at home during the daytime. Energy.gov reports that turning your thermostat lower by 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours per day will help you see an energy usage reduction of 5 to 15 percent per year on your bill.

Depending on your family's personal comfort preferences, one idea you may consider is lowering the thermostat at night while you sleep. Many people find it comfortable to sleep in a cooler environment while using winter blankets to regulate warmth. It's important to note that indoor humidity plays a role in the comfort of the air in your home. Read here about managing the humidity in your home to help you achieve your desired comfort level. 

Need Help Finding the Perfect Thermostat for Your Home? View our products.

Solution: A Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat in your home will let you run a scheduled heating and cooling program without having to remember to manually change your settings throughout the day. Most programmable thermostats are able to automatically adjust the temperature in your home up to six or more times per day. You can also manually override the automatic settings if you need to at any time without interrupting the daily or weekly programming.

A programmable thermostat offers such ease of use, that it's easy to set your home's temperature lower while you are asleep or during the day when you are at work.  In the summer months, raising your home's cooling temperature to over 78 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours per day — a typical work day — can really make a difference in your utility bills.

When programming your thermostat, just take into consideration your daily schedule. In the winter, do you like to sleep in a cool house?  If you like your home cooler at night, set your thermostat to a lower setting about an hour before you actually go to bed so the house starts to cool down. Prior to waking up, you might want to set the thermostat so the heat comes on approximately two hours before you actually get up so the house is nice and warm.

You should also consider adjusting the thermostat anytime your house is vacant for four or more hours per day. Typically, adjusting temperatures 5 – 8 degrees (down in winter, up in summer) can help save energy if you are going to be away from home for several hours.

Here are a few tips and benefits of a programmable thermostat from Energy Star:

  • Install your thermostat away from heating or cooling registers, appliances, 
    lighting, doorways, fireplaces, skylights and windows and areas that receive 
    direct sunlight or drafts. Interior walls are best.
  • Keep the thermostat set at energy-saving temperatures for long periods of time, 
    such as during the day when no one is home and at bedtime.
  • Set the “hold” button at a constant energy-saving temperature when going 
    away for the weekend or on vacation.
  • Change your batteries each year if your programmable thermostat runs on 
    batteries. Some units will indicate when batteries must be changed.
You can read about more benefits of using a programmable thermostat in Energy Star's Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling

Personal Home Comfort

A home's comfort level is determined by who lives within the home. When evaluating your settings, you'll want to consider, "What indoor temperature will provide personal comfort for my family and cost efficiency?" Some people like a home that is warm and some prefer a cooler environment. If you haven't been consciously managing your temperature settings up to now, you might be surprised that changing your settings just a little up or down, depending on the season, will provide you with the same comfort you have enjoyed previously in your home.

No matter what your preference, adjusting your thermostat — either manually or with a programmable thermostat — will ultimately help you save money

Image credit: 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)

Topics: Central Air Conditioning, Thermostats, Energy Savings

blog author

Stewart Unsdorfer

Stewart has been in the HVAC business for more than 25 years. He is a state licensed heating and A/C contractor, as well as being certified in design, fabrication, layout and installation of forced air heating / cooling systems.

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