How Does Your Thermostat Impact Your Energy Usage?

Posted by Tom Vatter

a temperature gauge showing just the right temperatureYou have many options when it comes to what type of thermostat you choose to control the cooling and heating systems in your home. For instance, if you have one of the manual, “slider” type thermostats still, simply replacing it with the most basic digital thermostat is an upgrade. You can take this even further by investing in a programmable thermostat or a smart thermostat—which learns your cooling habits and adjusts accordingly.

When it comes to selecting the right thermostat for your home and your needs, you want to trust in a company who is expertly trained and highly experienced with Navarre, FL air conditioning services, which is why you should give us a call. But what we want to address here isn’t necessarily which thermostat you should get, but how you use that thermostat. Too many homeowners adjust their thermostats in such a way that really doesn’t make efficient or affordable use of their energy.

The Biggest Thermostat Mistake

The average thermostat can be set as low as 60°F, but that doesn’t mean it should be, nor that it will be effective at that temperature. The biggest mistake people make in this regards is setting their thermostat as low as it will go on extremely hot days, thinking that it will help cool down their home faster.

However, this actually will not help the house get cooler any quicker—in fact, it will work against you. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Your thermostat is a switch, not a throttle. It only controls when to turn off and shut off the compressor and fans of your HVAC system. When you set the thermostat to cool your home, the thermostat signals the compressor to run until it registers that it has reached your desired temperature setting. So, a lower setting doesn’t make your air conditioner work faster—it makes it run longer. And if you set the temperature too low, all that energy goes to waste. This is because your AC system struggles to cool your home the larger the difference is between your thermostat setting and the temperature outside.
  2. Additionally, the larger this temperature discrepancy is, the faster heat moves from one area to another. So if you try to cool your home down to 60°F on a 90°F day, the heat will move faster indoors, and you’ll find yourself constantly running the air conditioner to try to maintain that low temperature.

You Can Save Energy and Still Be Comfortable

We recommend actually setting your thermostat higher to not only save on energy costs but to also maintain your home comfort. For each degree you raise your thermostat settings, you can shave 1%-2% off of your cooling bills. So, what temperature is best?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most people are comfortable at 78°, though you may want to start a little lower than that if people in your household are too warm, and gradually work up to that temperature. It’s also recommended that during the evening or times when nobody is home on the hottest days of the year, that you raise the temperature even more, by as much as 8-10 degrees.

For more energy tips and exceptional HVAC services, contact Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc.

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