Temperature is subjective. Even if there is a number attached to temperature, let’s say 65˚F, that temperature is warm to some, cold to others depending on geography (65˚F is cold coat weather for Southern California, but t-shirt weather for most New Englanders) and most of the time it comes down to personal preference.
The short answer is set it to what’s comfortable for you and your family. If you are all about bundling in blankets, wearing robes and slippers and tons of layers around your home you will need to use your heat less, meaning a lower utility bill. Also if you are only home for a few hours during the weekdays there is no need to heat an empty space, but it is easy to forget to turn down the thermostat. This is where automation comes into play.
With a programmable thermostat (included in the No-Cost Mass Save Energy Analysis for MA residents) you can set a schedule for when the temperature of your home can fluctuate to an energy-saving level when you are away. By allowing you to “set it and forget it,” a programmable thermostat only needs to be adjusted when you feel like it instead of manually adjusting it two, three, possibly four times a day. Two or three degrees can make a difference between spending and saving on your heating needs.
Every degree you lower the thermostat during the winter you will save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill – in other words the average family saves $180 a year by this one-time setup.
Here is how a typical weekday schedule may look for a family that is always on the go at work or school:
6:30 AM: The family wakes up and gets ready. The temperature of the house is at 68˚F; the heat automatically turned on a half-hour earlier so it would hit this temperature by 6:00 AM.
7:30 AM: The family leaves the house and the thermostat is set to 56˚F. By turning their thermostat back 10–15˚F for eight hours the family can save 5–15% a year on their heating bill – a savings we discussed prior as 1% for each degree if the setback period is either hours long.
3:30 PM: The family starts returning home from work and school. The heat turned on a bit before so the house would again be 68˚F for their return.
9:30 PM: The family has gone to bed (covered in flannel pajamas and bundled under blankets) and the thermostat is set to 56˚F starting at 10:00 PM and through the night.
Please note that all the temperature changes that happen in the example above did not require the family to touch the thermostat. Before the day began they programmed it once to follow a weekday schedule for when a certain temperature is expected while they are in the home during the day versus not at home versus in bed.
A programmable thermostat automatically changes the temperature and saves you from unnecessarily heating your home.
So what is the best energy saving temperature for your thermostat?
If you are at home during the day, 72˚F is a good place to start, but if you can, aim for 68˚F
If you are not at home during the day, or are asleep at night, 66–56˚F is best for optimal energy saving
Of course other factors will come into play, and life can get in the way, but as long as you set out to get a programmable thermostat installed (either no-cost through us if you qualify or elsewhere) and use the above temperatures as a rule of thumb you will come out saving on your electric bill.