Next to the TV or refrigerator, is your thermostat one of the most often visited appliances in your home? You know the drill. One person in the family turns the thermostat up a few degrees. Then a little while later someone else is too hot so they turn it down a few degrees. Then the first person gets cold again and turns it up once more. And the dizzying cycle continues. It’s not hard to understand why some offices put a lock on their thermostats! We aren’t suggesting you increase the security around your equipment, but constantly adjusting the thermostat makes your air conditioner or furnace work harder than it should.
Or maybe this sounds familiar: You get home from work and your home feels warm. The temperature in the house reads 79°F but you like it at 75°F. So you set the thermostat to 72°F so that it will cool off your home more quickly.
That’s not how it works. This doesn’t make your air conditioner work faster because it only works at one speed. Lowering the temperature setting past what you need just makes the air conditioner run longer to reach the 72° setting.
If your living areas frequently feel too hot or too cool and you’re in the habit of changing the thermostat temperature settings to compensate, you’re adding to the equipment’s workload, wasting energy, and it’s costing you more money.
Adjusting the thermostat too much leads to breakdowns
Starting up and shutting down consumes a lot of energy so changing the temperature frequently causes unnecessary wear and tear on not only the thermostat but on your HVAC system as a whole. Just like using the brakes of your car too much while driving wears down your brake pads, constantly adjusting the thermostat means the unit may break down faster than it should. This can lead to expensive repairs or even replacement! Instead of turning the temperature up and down every time you get a little hot or cold, find a temperature you’re comfortable with and leave it at that while you’re home. When you set your thermostat at a certain temperature for eight or more hours at a time, your HVAC system runs more efficiently.
Adjusting the thermostat wastes money
When you adjust your thermostat, your furnace has to work harder. It takes more power to suddenly turn your unit on than it does to keep it at the same temperature for an extended period of time.
And a recent study found that people who micromanage their thermostats use more energy than those that leave them alone for long periods of time. Why? Because constantly changing the temperature setting on your thermostat causes your air conditioner to stop and start often, which causes them to run inefficiently.
In order to save money, your AC should be running for longer, steadier. Think of it like your car’s MPG. You get better mileage on the highway than you do on streets with lots of stoplights, right?
But DO adjust the temperature when you’re away
Ok, even though we just said to stop adjusting the thermostat, you shouldn’t always have your thermostat at the same temperature. According to Energy Star, if you set your thermostat at a specific temperature and never touch it, you waste as much as $180/year.
When you’re going to be away for eight hours or more, experts recommend setting your thermostat 5 to 8 degrees higher in the summer and 10 to 15 degrees lower in the winter. The U.S. Department of Energy says doing so saves you 5 to 15 percent on your monthly heating and cooling bills!
Install a programmable thermostat
It’s better to use a programmable thermostat to make temperature adjustments based on your family’s usual daily routine. Programmable thermostats save you the hassle of adjusting the temperature each morning and evening. You just program it to turn the heat or air conditioning down in the mornings when you leave for work and back up when you get home. It saves time, energy, and money.
- DON’T constantly change the thermostat setting when you are home—it wastes money, energy, and leads to equipment breakdowns.
- DON’T adjust your thermostat up or down to heat or cool your home faster—it doesn’t work.
- DO Change your thermostat temperature setting when no one will be home for 8 or more hours.
- DO install a programmable thermostat to help you save money and feel more comfortable in your home.