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What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat to in Winter?


As the weather gets colder and colder, it’s time to figure out exactly how to stay cozy this winter without paying unnecessarily high heating bills. In our area, heating comprises the majority of your utility bills for the year which is understandable in this cold climate. How can you strike a balance between keeping warm and saving money? By setting your thermostat properly this winter. Here’s how.

How Thermostats Work

Turning up the thermostat does not cause heat to be made or distributed more quickly. The thermostat is a binary switch, only turning the furnace on or off, and the furnace makes heat at the same rate any time it is on. So turning the thermostat extra-high simply won’t help when you need to bring your home to a comfortable temperature. 

How Heat Loss Happens

The greater the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the quicker your home’s temperature will drop. This is because two different temperatures of things in contact with each other will seek thermal equilibrium, trying to come to an equal temperature. The further apart the temperatures are, the faster the change will be. An 80-degree home will cool faster than a 70-degree home. 

Your Ideal Temperature

Each family’s needs are different, so you will have to decide for yourself what temperature is reasonable for your home. But chances are, you would be perfectly comfortable at 68 degrees if you take a few steps to maximize your warmth.

  • Ceiling fans: These should be set clockwise and run at a low speed to circulate the warmth so it doesn’t gather at the ceiling where you don’t need it.
  • The greenhouse effect: Make sure curtains are open when the sun is hitting those windows.
  • Weatherization: Use rope caulk, foam strips, door-bottom strips, or sand-filled door snakes to keep out drafts and keep the heat in.

Programming Your Thermostat

According to the EPA, if you lower your thermostat by 7-10 degrees for eight hours of the day while you’re at work, you can cut your heating bill by around ten percent. If your thermostat is programmable, you can ensure that the temperature is brought back up in time for you to get home. 

During the night, you can also set your thermostat several degrees lower than you need it during the day, saving an additional chunk of money. Again, with a programmable thermostat, you can have the house cozy just in time for you to get up in the morning. 

One critical thing to remember is never to set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees. For one thing, it would take a long time for your home to get back up to a comfortable temperature. More importantly, a temperature in the low fifties or below poses a very serious risk: frozen pipes. 

Keep Your Heating System in Good Condition

Your furnace will run more efficiently and effectively with regular maintenance. And because many heating issues cause the system to use excess energy, get prompt HVAC repair in Cambridge, MA whenever you notice a problem to prevent spikes in your utility bills.

Reach out to Cooling Unlimited, Inc. to speak with qualified heating experts.

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