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Recommended Thermostat Settings for Energy Savings

The temperature inside of homes, businesses, apartments and other dwellings, is controlled by a simple device called a thermostat. It is the job of the thermostat to turn on and turn off a building's heating and cooling system. As a result, the thermostat setting also plays a significant role when it comes to energy usage and savings. Optimal thermostat settings vary depending on the season and can save a family in terms of energy consumption and money. In order to appreciate these benefits it is necessary to learn what the recommended thermostat settings are.

  • Managing Your Thermostat for Comfort and Energy Savings: This is a PDF fact sheet on thermostats. The fact sheet not only defines what thermostats are, but also provides information on how to save money and remain comfortable. The PDF is courtesy of the City of Evansville, Wisconsin website.
  • Energy Savings - Heating and Cooling: This web page appears on the City of Rocky Mount, North Carolina website. The page reviews programming the thermostat for the winter months and also programming the thermometer in warm weather months. Additional energy savings tips are also included on this page.

One of two types of thermostats may be found in most homes - manual or programmable. When a person has a manual thermostat, he or she must set and turn on the unit manually. Once it is set, it will remain at that setting until the individual changes it or turns it off. This type of thermostat is the most basic and is not as energy-efficient as the programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is one that is programmed to automatically adjust to the best thermostat settings throughout the day. The ideal thermostat settings for energy savings depends on the season or weather conditions.

  • Automatic and Programmable Thermostats: This is a PDF fact sheet that explains thermostats can lower energy costs. The document explains thermostats and also the operation of general and automatic thermostats. Choosing a programmable thermostat and the different types are also included in the fact sheet.
  • Portland General Electric - Thermostats: This web page discusses types of thermostats, including the difference between manual and electronic programmable thermostats. Energy-efficient settings for heating and cooling are also reviewed on this page. A brief video about the topic is featured on the page.
  • -Thermostats and Control Systems: This article reviews how to use thermostats to save money. The focus is primarily on programmable thermostats. Readers will learn how to adjust the thermostats for the summer and winter and also during evening hours for both seasons.

To achieve maximum energy savings during the summer months, setting the air conditioning thermostat properly can result in a significant reduction in one's energy bill. The optimal thermostat settings for the summer months is determined by whether or not the house is occupied or empty. When occupied the thermostat setting should be kept at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. For every degree warmer than 72 degrees Fahrenheit a person can expect a one to two percent savings in energy costs. In addition, ceiling or stationary fans can also help to make the home feel cooler. When unoccupied the thermostat should be set to a warmer temperature, such as 85 degrees. If pets are left in the home during the summer, it is important that the thermostat of an otherwise unoccupied home is set no warmer than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

For maximum comfort and energy savings during cold weather months, the winter thermostat setting should be kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while the home is occupied. As with the summer months, the winter thermostat setting should be adjusted when there is no one home in order to enjoy the savings associated with being more energy-efficient. The ideal thermostat settings for energy savings will be 10 to 15 degrees lower than it is when occupied. By setting the thermostat lower for a minimum of eight hours a day, a person can save as much as 15 percent on his or her bill.

  • Summer Energy Saving Tips: Thermostat tips on this page include turning up the thermostat and installing a programmable thermostat in place of a manual thermostat. The page also advises what homeowners should do before going on summer vacation.
  • By the Numbers - "Best" Setting for Air Conditioner Thermostat: The primary focus of this article is how to set air conditioning thermostats during the summer months. The article also briefly mentions how to set thermostats during the winter.
  • Turn Down the Thermostat in January: This is a PDF document that explains how to turn down the thermostat in during the month of January and why. Important facts are also a part of the document.
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources - Winter Heating Tips: On this page readers are told how to use their furnaces and heaters wisely by properly adjusting their thermostats. They are told how to set their thermostat during the winter and how it saves them money.
  • PG&E - The Thermostat: Develop Energy-Saving Habits: This article reviews setting the thermostat for heating systems. The article is broken into sections to discuss programmable units, how to set it when not at home and why people should avoid "cranking it up."

To ensure the best thermostat settings for one's home it is necessary for adjustments to be made according to the seasons and whether or not the home is occupied. This means lowering the thermostat in the winter months and raising it in the summer. Obtaining the recommended thermostat settings is best accomplished using a programmable thermostat which will make pre-programmed adjustments throughout the day. In addition to energy savings, one's efforts to set his or here thermostat will also result in saving money on their energy bill.

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