Thermostat settings can be the subject of debate in many South Carolina households because let’s face it, people have different comfort levels. A room that feels just right to you may feel warm or chilly to another member of your family.
But most everyone knows that the lower you set your thermostat, the less heating fuel you will use. This leads to these questions: what is the best temperature for winter, how low can you safely set your thermostat and how much can you really save on heat?
While finding a balance between comfort and savings is not easy because every family and home are different, the U.S. Department of Energy says you can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and then moving it about 8°F lower while you’re asleep or away from home.
The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss, according to Energy.gov. 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.
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.
Be careful not to set your thermostat too low. When the temperature inside your house drops below 60°F, the risk for frozen pipes goes up a lot.
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 because of this expansion, eventually burst. This can cause severe water and structural damage that could cost thousands of dollars to repair.
An easy way to avoid problems and make your life easier is to install a smart programmable thermostat, which will help you keep temperatures low while you’re away and higher while you’re home during the winter. Why waste time adjusting your thermostat every day? Plus, you can monitor your home’s temperature anytime, and from anywhere, through your smart phone.
Read more about smart thermostats.
Besides partnering with your heating service contractor to perform regular, money-saving maintenance on your heating equipment, you can also do some self-maintenance tasks during the heating season.
For instance, if you have a forced-air system (one with vents or registers rather than radiators or baseboards), the most important self-maintenance task is to check the air filter in your furnace regularly, cleaning or changing it when needed. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper maintenance.
Clogged filters lower furnace efficiency by making it overwork to keep you warm; that means higher heating bills and more wear and tear on your equipment. Note: the same principle about checking the air filter applies if you have a central air conditioning system in your home.
If you’re worried that your heating system will not keep you warm enough this winter, please explore current heating oil equipment rebates and then reach out to your heating oil service provider for advice.