One common debate in households during this time of the year involves thermostat settings. How low can you go and how much can this save you on heat? With heating fuel prices at their highest levels in years, this is a debate worth having.
Of course, finding a balance between comfort and savings is not easy because every family has different comfort levels and each home has differences. With that said, here are general guidelines from the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE).
You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it about 8°F lower while you’re asleep or away from home.
According to the USDOE, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. Read more about this.
The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer—— a higher temperature inside your home will slow heat gain into your house, saving you energy and money on air conditioning costs.
The Energy Department concludes that you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.
When the temperature inside your house drops too low, the risk for frozen pipes goes up a lot. It’s generally recommended that you never set your thermostat below 60 °F, although some people prefer it to be a few degrees higher just to be on the safe side.
Keep in mind that most bathroom and kitchen pipes are not insulated, so they rely on your home heating system to keep them warm. Without adequate exposure to heat, these pipes can freeze and eventually burst, causing severe water and structural damage that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. There are countless stories of people returning from a winter vacation only to find a water pipe had burst and flooded their home.
A second problem with setting the temperature too low is a buildup of condensation inside your home. Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface; the cooler the air in your home is, the less moisture it can hold.
A buildup of condensation can damage your wood floors, furniture, and electronic equipment, so it’s definitely something you want to avoid.
An easy way to control your temperature settings is to install a smart programmable thermostat, which will help you keep temperatures low while you’re away (or sleeping) and higher while you’re at home. Why waste time adjusting your thermostat every day? Plus, you can remotely monitor your home’s temperature anytime and from anywhere with your mobile phone.
If you’re worried that your heating system will not keep you warm enough this winter, begin exploring your equipment replacement options. Then reach out to your local South Carolina heating oil service company or HVAC contractor for advice.