Happy Fall, y’all! It’s almost November, which means even in perpetually-hot Texas, fall is here to stay and winter is on the way. Funnily enough, when the weather is the best outdoors, that’s when we get the most questions about what the temperature inside your home should be.
Although it may seem like switching off your HVAC system completely while you’re away from home is a great idea to save money, it’s actually a lot less efficient for your system and makes it harder to cool your home. When you return home and have to turn your system back on, especially in extreme temperatures, your HVAC system has to work a lot harder to get past your home’s insulation than if the system was kept running. That means that your unit is spending a lot more energy to re-heat or cool your home than it would had your system been left on while you were away. (Of course, if you’re leaving for more than 24 hours, turning your system off is best.)
Now that you know you should leave your system running, knowing what temperature to set it at is key. The wrong one could be unnecessarily heating or cooling your home when no one is there, but you should still be comfortable while you are home!
The magic numbers here are 10 – 15. That is how much you should adjust your thermostat by when you’re leaving the house. By adjusting your thermostat by 10-15 degrees (either up or down, depending on the season), you could save up to 30% on your energy bill.
In Hot Weather
Our bodies are most comfortable around 75 degrees, although the exact temperature will vary from person to person. The closer you can get your temperature to 80 degrees while you are home, without being uncomfortable, the more you’ll save on your energy bill. When leaving your home for four hours or longer, set your AC to only kick in if the house gets above 88 degrees.
In Cold Weather
Our bodies are the most comfortable around 68 degrees, and like with warm weather, the lower you can take that temperature without being uncomfortable, the more you can save. Lowering that to around 58 degrees while you’re out will keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.
Having a programmable thermostat that is set to automatically adjust at specific times of the day is even better. You can have your HVAC system kick in to cool or warm up the house about 30 minutes before you get home from work, so by the time you get home, everything will be cozy.
If you’re setting your temperatures, but leaving your system’s fan set to “On”, instead of “Auto” you’re probably undoing all your savings from the temperature, and wearing out your system faster! We recommend the “Auto” setting for everyday usage. The “on” setting means that your HVAC fan will continue to run, even when your home has reached the temperature you set it to, while the “Auto” setting means that once your home has reached the appropriate temperature, the fan will only come on to make adjustments to keep your home at that temperature.
If you have any more questions about thermostats, your system’s efficiency or upgrading to a programmable thermostat, give us a call! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about your home’s heating and cooling needs.