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Five Facts Every Consumer Should Know About Thermostats

Comfort and cost - These are the two key factors most of us consider when setting our thermostat for the day.

But did you know that there is a host of small things you can do – without much of an impact on your day-to-day comfort – that could ultimately lower consumption and costs on monthly energy bills? 

Here are five facts every consumer should know about their thermostat: 

  1. Experts at the U.S. Department of Energy say that you can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 10 percent by resetting your thermostat by 7°F to 10°F (lower or higher depending on the season) for the eight hours when the house is unoccupied during the day.  If that isn’t an option, try raising or lowering the temperature if you leave the house for four hours or more. Even the smallest adjustments can help shave off a few kilowatt hours – and dollars – here and there. 
  2. In the winter, the ideal temperature setting from an efficiency standpoint is 68°F while you’re awake and in the house.  Setting it lower while you’re asleep or away will help you save even more. 
  3. The same strategy applies in the summer when the ideal temperature setting from an efficiency standpoint is 78°F when you’re at home.  Letting your house be warmer while you’re away can also help you save even more. 
  4. Avoid cranking down the thermostat when you first turn on your air conditioner after the empty house has grown warm.  This will not cool down your house any faster and could actually cause you to consume even more energy than the alternative – gradually lowering the thermostat setting until you achieve the desired temperature.  The same applies to heating your home back up during the winter months. 
  5. Make sure your thermostat is in the right location – this can have a big impact on your home’s heating and cooling performance.  If placed too closely to outside doors and windows, thermostats can generate “ghost readings.”  These are slightly higher or lower numbers that deviate from the home’s true temperature and will cause the air conditioner or heater to kick on for periods when it may not be necessary. 

Manufacturers usually include specific tips in the installation instructions on how to prevent ghost readings for that particular model.  Generally speaking, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends placing a thermostat on an interior wall away from any sources of direct sunlight.

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