Modern technology has added many new conveniences to our daily lives that have made it easier to connect, get work done and even save money. One underappreciated innovation is the programmable thermostat. This handy little addition to your home can end up saving you a significant amount of money each winter by cutting down on how much your furnace operates during the colder months, but proper use is important to getting the greatest savings and protecting your home from moisture problems.
The major benefit of having a programmable thermostat is setting it to reduce temperatures in your home during the times where no one will be there or when you will be asleep. For example, if you work a typical 9-5 job during the week and leave home at 8 a.m., you should set your thermostat to reduce the temperatures while you’re out of the home – from 8 a.m. until roughly 5:30 p.m., or a little bit before you expect to return so that your house is toasty and warm when you get back from work.
Similarly, you can also knock down the settings overnight to help save on your bills even more. When you’re in your bed, you’re already staying warm thanks to your sheet, comfortable and bed warmer or electric blanket, if you have one. With all that personal insulation keeping you comfortable, keeping the rest of the home heated isn’t as much of a priority. Just as with your workday hours, set the thermostat to return to normal temperatures a little bit before your alarm is set to go off to make sure you wake to a warm home. Setting down the thermostat a few ticks overnight will save you money during the overnight hours without making you feel chilly in your home.
According to Natural Resources Canada, the average household temperature in Canada is 21 degrees during the winter months. However, dropping the thermostat by 2 to 3 degrees while you’re out of the home or sleeping can provide optimal energy savings. At this reduced temperature, your furnace still won’t work as hard but will keep the home heated but not so cool as to introduce problems with moisture. Lowering the temperature significantly – 4 to 6 degrees or more – can increase humidity and allow condensation to form on windows and surfaces along outside walls, making your home more susceptible to mold or mildew growth.
Temperatures reduced too much can also affect airflow within the home. If your furnace is set to a setting significantly below normal, you’ll have a longer window that the furnace won’t need to run as your home naturally cools and dissipates the heat slowly. However, during this time, the fans that blow when the furnace is engaged won’t blow either, which will produce more stagnant air. You can keep interior doors open and use ceiling fans, oscillating fans or even the fan-only setting of your furnace (if possible) to keep air moving, though. The NRC offers a comprehensive guide to programming your thermostat on its website.
At Superior A.D.C., we can install a fully programmable thermostat in your home and show you how it works so that you can start setting your furnace to savings. For more information, contact us today!