It’s getting cold out and that means the thermostat wars are starting: constant bickering with family members over your home’s ideal temperature. And let’s face it – it’s a challenge to please everyone, as what’s comfortable for one person will always be too hot or cold for another. Not only does this create chaos at home, but constantly shifting from one extreme to another can quickly drive up energy costs.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to shave dollars off your overall bill – here are five energy-saving tips for your thermostat during the winter season.
1 – Set Up Temperature Settings
Most homes nowadays – especially in Canada’s chilly Calgary real estate and Edmonton real estate markets – have a thermostat that can be adjusted and programmed with different temperature settings at different points of the day. While it would seem like keeping the temperature steady would be efficient, you can actually save more money by simply setting up a schedule for your heating and cooling.
Depending on whether you’re in the hot or cold season, you can adjust the temperature higher or lower when you’re out of the house and then have it go back to the ideal room temperature—about 22 to 24 degrees Celsius—when you get back. During those hot summer seasons, opt to set the temperature to 25-26 degrees when you’re out of the house so that the unit isn’t constantly running throughout the day. For winter, you can have the thermometer set to 17-19 degrees instead.
2 – Service Heating and Cooling Units
As with all appliances, you’ll can save money in the long run if you regularly perform maintenance on your HVAC unit. Machines with clean filters and fans run at a greater efficiency than those that are poorly maintained. Clean units will have a much easier time heating or cooling, lowering the time that the machine operates and, by extension, your energy bill. This will also give you peace of mind that whatever you program your thermostat, the HVAC unit shouldn’t have any issues running and holding that temperature.
3 – Close Off Unused Rooms
Usually there is a room or two in your home that exists but doesn’t see much use. Things like the guest bedroom, dining room and the study are all rooms that see little to no use over a year. This means that it doesn’t make sense to cool or heat those rooms. Once you determined which room in your home is the least used, you can reduce the amount your HVAC needs to work by completely closing off the room. This is done by closing any vents in the room and keeping the windows closed. This way, you can warm or cool the rooms that you frequent in, and not waste any additional energy to heat a room that is unused.
4 – Look to Alternative Ways for Heating and Cooling
There are various ways you can you keep cool and warm during the summer and winter that don’t require you to dramatically turn up or down the thermostat.
For example, during the summertime, replace your usual silk and polyester sheets and opt for light-colored cotton. You can also use other things like ice packs and cold compresses under the sheets to help combat the hot weather. For the winter, the usual tips would be to use heavier blankets, keep the heat generated from cooking, and bundle up with layers of clothes. However, you can also keep warm by turning the ceiling fan clockwise; hot air can accumulate near the ceiling as it rises so having the ceiling fan push it back down to the ground will help in warm up your home.
5 – Upgrade to a New Thermostat
If you still own a manual thermostat—one that you need to constantly adjust yourself—then a good way to cut cost and use less energy is to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. It allows you to create a heating and cooling schedule that allows the thermostat to control when it’s the best time to adjust the temperature. Depending on the thermostat, you can even program it so that there is a day-by-day varying temperature.
Nowadays, there is even more advanced thermostat technology including smart thermostats where you can monitor and adjust on your smartphone. If you can afford it, these ones can do even more amazing things such as zone-based temperatures meaning that there can even be different temperatures in individual rooms. Take note that even if you just purchase the basic programable thermostat, it can actually reduce your bill by up to 15% which is always a plus.