The biggest energy drain in the household is related to the temperatures chosen for the home’s ambiance. Heating and cooling the home uses the most energy and is likely the largest burden on the home’s energy bills, too.
The thermostat on the HVAC system could hold the key to savings, though. Here’s how the thermostat could lower energy bills and help homeowners keep costs in check.
Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat could be an energy-efficient upgrade that also doesn’t require a huge investment. Buying a new thermostat isn’t the same as replacing the HVAC. Choosing a smart thermostat allows the home’s temperature to be controlled via an app installed on a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet.
Homeowners can change the thermostat settings and programs to ensure they keep the home at the most energy-efficient temperature. When homeowners are at work, they could turn down the temperature during the winter; before they leave for home, they might nudge the thermostat a bit higher to ensure the home is more comfortable when they return.
During the summer, the temperature might be adjusted a bit warmer to ensure that the HVAC doesn’t keep turning on to cool the home. Homeowners might shut the curtains or pull down the blinds before they leave to maximize the cooling effects of their air conditioner even when the temperature is adjusted upwards.
Program the Thermostat
Even if homeowners don’t have a smart thermostat, their current model could allow them to set programs that automatically adjust the temperature based on certain time parameters. Check the thermostat to see if programs are offered; make use of this technology, and set the temperature to optimize energy use.
What are the Most Energy Efficient Temperatures?
Homeowners might love walking into their warm home during a bitter cold winter day. How warm is too warm, though? Opting for a higher temperature setting during the winter will cause the heat to kick in more often, thus using more energy and bumping up the energy bill. Setting the thermostat too cool during the summer has the same effect.
During the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency advises bumping up the temperature about seven degrees when homeowners are out of the house. When at home, try nudging the temperature about four degrees higher than normal.
The ENERGY STAR website included an article about thermostats and suggested setting the temperature to 78 degrees in the summer for optimal energy savings, but the Environmental Protection Agency released a statement that these were never formal recommendations, simply examples per the ENERGY STAR website. However, many websites still reference the 78 degrees recommendation. If homeowners are comfortable at this temperature, it could help them save money.
Bob Vila’s site recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees during the winter for optimal savings. ENERGY STAR noted the same temperature. If homeowners are comfortable this cool, then, again, this could help save money.
Even bumping the temperature down or up a few degrees during extreme cold or hot days could be beneficial for lowering energy use and helping shed some dollars off the bill, too.
Know When to Switch Off the AC or the Heat
Some days are mild in temperature and the home could feel comfortable without using the air conditioner or the heat. If the weather feels mild, opt to open the windows to add warmth or a little cool air in the home. Homeowners should check that their HVAC system is turned off on these days. Don’t use the energy if it isn’t needed. In certain parts of the country, spring and fall could mean lower energy bills!
Don’t Forget to Service the System
Once per year, homeowners should service their heating and cooling system to ensure it’s in good condition. These maintenance appointments can help homeowners find problems that could be costly down the road (if they aren’t repaired).
In addition to yearly maintenance, homeowners also should remember to replace the air filter in their HVAC. A dirty air filter can impact air flow and cause the system to work harder (and lead to higher monthly costs). While most air filters need to be changed every three months, some need to be changed more frequently.
Upgrade to an Energy-Efficient HVAC System
Homeowners won’t want to replace their HVAC system unless it is necessary; a new system can cost thousands of dollars. However, if the old system needs to be replaced, homeowners might consider upgrading to an energy-efficient system. An energy-efficient HVAC system uses less energy and can lead to monthly savings. In addition, these systems could be eligible for rebates.
Heating and cooling the home is the dominant energy drain each month for most homeowners. Take control of how that thermostat is bumping up the bills and make changes to help lower the energy use associated with the HVAC. Making the home slightly cooler in the winter and a little warmer in summer could help save money and lower energy consumption, too.