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Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Blog

Winter Heating Tip: Don’t Raise the Thermostat, Lower It!

It can cost a lot to heat your home during a New York winter, and there’s no way to avoid having to pay for the energy needed to run your heating system. But chances are good that you’re paying more than necessary for home heating due to some simple mistakes. One of those mistakes is with how you set the thermostat.

Far too many people use their home thermostats incorrectly, changing settings regularly and pushing the temperature up each time the house feels too cold. There is a science behind how thermostats work and how your home loses heat that can help you learn better thermostat habits. Just a few adjustments can make an important difference in those heating bills! Let our experts at heating in Rochester, NY show you the best way to set your thermostat for winter heating.

The Major Thermostat Misunderstanding

We’ll start with the simple misunderstanding about thermostats that leads to a lot of bad decisions when using them: Raising the thermostat will make your heating system warm up the house faster.

This is false! This assumes that the thermostat works like a throttle: the more you press down on it, the more power it provides. But a thermostat is actually a switch. It determines when your heating system (and the blower fan) turns on and off. If you raise the thermostat, it means the heating system will run for longer before it turns off. It won’t blow out a larger volume of heat, and it won’t send it out faster. If your house is cold, setting the thermostat to 68°F will heat it up just as fast as if it were set at 78°F.

This is our first major piece of advice: Keep thermostat settings steady!

Moving the thermostat settings up and down in an effort to better control the warmth in your house will end up forcing the heating system to run for longer, all to reach a temperature that won’t actually be comfortable (78°F is usually the temperature where you need to turn on the air conditioning!). It’s better to keep the thermostat at a steady setting during the day when people are home, and then have a second setting for the evening or when the house is empty. Find the best setting and stick to it and you won’t have the heater run wastefully.

Lowering the Thermostat

Yes, we recommend you keep the thermostat at a lower setting. Obviously, not one where you’re miserably cold. Find a temperature that’s comfortable when you’re wearing warm clothing indoors. An ideal setting for the daytime is 68°F. Most people will find this comfortable if they have on warm clothing. If it still seems too cold, you can set the thermostat higher and then lower it one degree per day until you acclimatize to the lower temperature.

There’s two factors at work here that will lower how much you spend on heating. First, the heater will not run as often. Second, your home will lose heat slower when the indoor temperature is cooler. The closer the indoor and outdoor temperatures are, the slower the heat loss to the outside. 

Call Triple-O Mechanical: Your One-stop Shop for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical. 

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