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The right thermostat settings can do wonders for your energy costs. ConsumerEnergyCenter.org reports that you can save up to five percent in heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees. Many people find that setting the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter provides a comfortable home environment and keeps heating costs under control. At the night, or during the day when everyone is away, the temperature can be set to 6-10 degrees cooler to provide more savings.
The key to making these temperature changes effortless is to install a programmable thermostat with which you can assign different temperatures to different times of day or even different days of the week. Some households have different schedules on Mondays as opposed to Thursdays, for examples. These household rhythms can be programmed into the thermostat. Your family might consider investing in a super-smart learning thermostat.
For example, if people in your household wake later on weekends, you probably won’t need to raise the temperature to 68 degrees until 9am. Then on weekdays, you might like your house to be comfortably warm by 6:30am, when the earliest riser stumbles into the kitchen seeking coffee. Programming your thermostat to raise or lower the temperature according to your family’s schedule can save a great deal of money—you’ll never have to never heat your home more than necessary. And you’ll save time, since your thermostat settings will rarely need revisiting.
You can try programming a thermostat to match your household's needs with Energy.gov's Programmable Thermostat Tool. The site notes that programming your thermostat can also help you avoid the temptation to crank up your temperature when you feel chilly. Rather than raising your home's temperature (and your heating bills), try bundling up in a warm sweater and sipping a hot drink. If someone in your household just can’t live without that extra warmth, use a space heater or two to make their most-used areas of the home extra-toasty.
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During the summertime, the same principles apply, just in reverse. Keep your air conditioners or central air unit set at 75 degrees or above for cost-efficient cooling. Your family's habits may allow you to keep the temperature higher. Consult your family and see what everyone is comfortable with. Additionally, a box fan can allow you to raise your thermostat by making rooms feel cooler than they are, and they cost about one tenth as much to run as an air conditioner, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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