Set Your Furnace Thermostat and Other Tips to Save Money on Heat

Furnace Maintenance

Do you ever disagree with other members of your household or work colleagues about the ideal temperature?

Have you ever had the thought that a colleague or family member must be nuts to want it hotter/colder than you prefer?

The truth is, it can be challenging to agree on the right thermostat setting in winter, especially when you are trying to please “cold-natured” and “hot-natured” people all under one roof!

There are other factors as well that can change how temperature is perceived.

Read this post to find out how to set your furnace thermostat to save money and keep everyone cozy this winter.

How Much Does Running Your Furnace Cost You?

Most homeowners report that running the furnace in winter is one of the largest expenses of owning a home.

Let’s take a look at what most homeowners spend to stay warm during the typical Canadian winter.

The typical homeowner reports paying around $2,358 for energy costs each year.

Of that $2,358, we know that around 61 percent goes directly to run a single appliance: your furnace; 61 percent of $2,358 is $1,438.

Of course, your own winter heating bill will likely differ somewhat based on your usage patterns, fuel type, heating preferences, natural body temperature, size of your space, condition and age of your furnace or heating equipment and other variables.

But still, $1,438 or thereabouts is a pretty steep annual energy bill to spend just on heat!

Now you can use this same basic formula to calculate your own average winter furnace bill. What do you think? Are you paying too much? Would you like to reduce your furnace costs from here forward?

Trim Up to 10 Percent By Using a Programmable Thermostat

The Energy Star program states you can potentially trim 10 percent off your heating and cooling energy bill annually by using a programmable thermostat.

Here, we aren’t even talking about adjusting your thermostat deliberately to reap energy savings. We are simply addressing the concept of making sure you aren’t paying to heat an empty home.

Let’s say you decided to install an after-market programmable thermostat (or simply start using the one you have more effectively).

Of that $2,358 average energy bill we talked about earlier, 64 percent is allocated toward heating and 3 percent to cooling. That works out to $1,509.

Ten percent is $150. Could you use an extra $150 back in your pocket?

Save Another 10 Percent By Lowering Your Thermostat for 8 Hours Daily

If you are aiming higher than $150 for winter energy savings, your next step is to take a look at where you might be able to lower your thermostat setting without anyone in your family getting uncomfortable

Two particularly good times for many homeowners are during the day when no one is home and at night when everyone is bundled up in warm blankets.

If you can turn down your furnace thermostat seven to 10 degrees for at least eight hours per day, you can easily save another 10 percent on winter heating costs.

So now you are up to $300 back in your pocket. What would you like to spend your $300 on?

Myth Debunked: It Won’t Cost You More To Reheat Your Home

There is an old, lingering myth that you will pay more to reheat a cold space than if you simply kept it warm consistently.

The truth is, the longer you can keep your space cold, the more money you will save on reheating your home.

Why is this?

It takes only as much energy to reheat your home as the amount of energy you saved when you first lowered your thermostat. After that, any extra time at a lower thermostat setting is energy saved.

Let’s say you turn your thermostat down in the morning and leave it down for eight hours while everyone is out of the house. You come home and turn your thermostat back up. You break even for those few minutes when you first left and first returned.

The other 7.5 hours or so when your empty home stayed cooler is money in the bank.

Recommended Furnace Thermostat Settings for Maximum Savings

  • Daytime: 21°C (69.8°F) (20°C (68°F) when you are active).
  • Nighttime or when no one is home: 16°C (60.8°F)

Other Ways to Stay Warm With a Lower Furnace Thermostat Setting

Science now knows that human body temperature can vary throughout life and even throughout the day.

Age, gender, lifestyle choices and genetics can all influence whether you are more comfortable with a warmer or cooler temperature.

For this reason, sometimes it can feel like an impossibility to ever agree on a thermostat setting everyone prefers.

But it is easy to forget there are other ways to stay warm inside without having to run the furnace all the time.

1. Switch your ceiling fans to winter mode

Modern ceiling fans typically have a switch that toggles up or down. This is to help move airflow optimally in the warm and cold seasons. By toggling the switch to winter mode, the fan blades reverse and pull warm air up from the ground and into the central areas of each room.

2. Schedule a furnace tune-up

Simply having your furnace maintained annually can trim 20 percent off your heating bills – which means you more than pay for the cost of the visit with your energy savings.

3. Use area rugs and window treatments strategically

Area rugs have an insulating effect during the winter, helping to hold heat in a room. They also make your feet feel warmer!

By opening and closing window treatments to let in warm sunlight and keep out drafts, you can also help conserve heat energy.

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