If you’re like many homeowners, you ponder that question when the time of year comes that temperatures begin dropping. Deciding on an answer to this question though isn’t quite as simple as just picking a particular temperature and then leaving it, especially considering how energy usage and financial considerations are different from one household to the next.
Having said that, there are general ranges of recommendations for most homes in terms of their winter thermostat settings.
How To Determine The Best Temperature
If someone is in the home, and it’s daylight, then 72 degrees Fahrenheit is a great starting point. The minimum, however, should be 68 F.
On the other hand, if no one is home or folks are sleeping at night, 62 F to 66 F is a better range. People sleep better when temperatures are a bit cooler, but if you go too low when you’re not home, you might risk things like spoiling medications and foods or hurting pets.
However, rather than get obsessed with perfect numbers, your best approach is creating a comprehensive strategy with energy-efficiency in mind. When you keep your home warm without spending as much, you can set your thermostat to what everyone finds comfortable without worrying about blowing up your power bill.
Ease your way into winter. Every home and family has its ideal preferences regarding temperature, but setting the thermostat to one number and then never changing it won’t help your energy bills out at all. Once you and those you love get acclimated to the now colder weather, consider dropping the temperature in your home by a single degree a week. Per the United States Department of Energy, a single-degree reduction done for just eight hours might drop your utility bill by an equal percentage point. Your savings will compound if you lower the temperatures even more and for longer stretches, and a gradual change is not likely to get noticed by anyone acclimating slowly.
A good way to measure your indoor temperature is to get yourself an indoor thermometer.
Invest time and money into the selection and optimization of a programmable thermostat. No home has a perfect interior temperature in winter, and savvy homeowners know that in any given moment there’s no perfect temperature. However, there are times when your home is empty, like when your family travels or everyone is out doing errands or is at work. These are ideal circumstances for you to cut expenses by lowering the home’s temperature. Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners pass up this chance because they find it too much hassle to keep reprogramming their thermostats. Many others just forget to do it.
In extreme temperatures, a smart thermostat might just be the most practical thing you can do. Many models are simple to use, and many modern ones have remote options you can use through your smartphone. Just make sure you check on compatibility though. Many models might work with as many as 95 percent of existing HVAC systems, but you want to be sure you’re not in the 5 percent.
Practical Ways To Keep Warm
Use space heaters. Your heating can mean a third of your total utility bill, but if you’re only in one or two rooms most of the time, rely less on your home heat and more on a space heater in that favorite room. They’re cheap, and you can get them using propane, electricity, or even natural gas. Just make sure you check out the EPA’s Introduction to Indoor Air Quality first. Also, turn your space heater off when you leave any room, much less the home, or just go to sleep. Safety first! Here is an article teaches you about how to measure air quality.
Seal your windows. Cold air can seep into the home through your windows any given day. Inspect your window areas for frame cracks, and form seals by applying caulk where it needs to be. Insulate your windows using an application of plastic wrap over the glass faces. That will trap cold air that might seep through the glass, preventing it from getting into your home. Unless you’re letting light in, closing drapes can further reduce movement of cold air.
Block off drafts. The windows of your home aren’t the only spots where cold air might get in. Have your whole home inspected for drafts. Use blankets or towels to close off any doorjambs you’re worried about. For that matter, invest in weather-stripping for exterior doors. Close your chimney flue, and close the doors to your unoccupied or unused rooms. That keeps cold air in those specific rooms so it won’t get around the home.
The warmer you get your family to dress, then the less you have to rely on your furnace for comfort. Dressing in layers in winter is smart, especially if you are mindful of bodily areas where heat escapes, like your feet or head. It’s also a good idea to use additional layers in the night or morning when temperatures are lowest and you are coldest.
Insulate your basement, considering how much energy it can eat up. It’ll have a lot of heat pumped into it, but that heat naturally wants to rise up and then escape. For that reason, it’s crucial that your windows and walls get properly insulated, even in an unfinished basement. The most-efficient solution is using rolls of fiberglass insulation.
Throw down a Rug if you want more heat. You’ll give your floors insulation and also reduce noise in the home too.
Give your furnace a Filter Alarm. That will give you a heads up when it comes time to change the filter. Such alarms make whistling sounds when they start sensing dirty filters.
Check out your HVAC Filters. You should do this monthly in the winter, cleaning or replacing anything that’s dirty. Properly maintaining your HVAC system can help you save money on heating.
Don’t block off your air vents. Keep your supply and return vents clear of appliances and furniture so that your HVAC system functions with more efficiency. Do you know that some heat recovery ventilators can improve indoor air quality through expelling stale interior air constantly and then using the heat from it to preheat the fresh air coming in? Installing such a thing might prove to be additional savings on future energy bills.
If you use a wood-burning fireplace, split that wood into pieces approximately 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Wood that size burns more cleanly with a lot more surface area exposed to flames. To really swing for the fences, consider a fireplace thermostat that helps you control the room temperature even more effectively.
Make sure your door is well-insulated. You can check this by just putting your hand against the inside of it. If it winds up feeling cooler than your inside walls, you might want to consider upgrading to a door that is better insulated.
Insulate your attic, and make sure it’s enough. Anything with an R-value less than R-22 could probably use more.
Don’t crank your heat to warm the house faster. The home will warm up at the same speed it would otherwise.
Open up your blinds or drapes on the sunny days so you can capture and enjoy the free heat. This isn’t much different than the greenhouse effect that heats up the inside of your car too much in the summer, except this time you want it. If you have south-facing windows, keep them squeaky clean so the light can come through. Remember that you should close your blinds or drapes once the sun sets though.
If you want some extra heat, try a humidifier. Water volume in the air retains heat, which is why air conditioning units focus so hard on dehumidifying the air. However, winter air is often very dry, without moisture to hold the heat you want. So, consider adding a humidifying element to your heating system. Other ways to add moisture to the air include the use of aquariums, houseplants, or just hanging wet clothes to air dry in bathrooms rather than using a dryer.
Install any technology that saves you energy. The winter season for most involves long, dark nights, and electricity use is higher as people need light while they’re still up. You can help conserve your energy through the installation of dimmers, solar cells, automatic timers, and motion sensors.
Speaking of lighting at night, use better light bulbs. LED lighting only uses a quarter of the energy of conventional bulbs, and they work great outdoors too.
Turn your lights off when applicable. If you leave a room, turn off the lights to save money. Just remember the CFL bulbs are a little different. If you want to make the most of your CFL bulbs, only turn them off if you are leaving a particular room for anything longer than 15 minutes.
Close your garage door in order to trap heat in. In the winter months, your garage door should be closed as tightly as possible, as often as you can. If you do so, you’ll keep a pocket of warmer air on the garage-side of the house, which can act as a buffer of insulation from the outside’s colder air.
At Comfy Home Corner we are dedicated in providing the best tips and product reviews to assist you with creating a better environment for your home.
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