How Should I Set My Thermostat for When I'm At Work?

For many hours a day you’re gone at work, or maybe at school. Yet your HVAC system keeps going and going, with nobody home. This needs a ton of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly scale back this cost by adjusting the thermostat up or down when you leave for work and resetting it back to your preferred temperature when you get home. But how much should the thermostat be adjusted?

Here’s what the Department of Energy has to say about thermostat settings:

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply setting your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its typical setting. The percentage of savings from setback is better for buildings in cooler climates than for those in more dynamic climates.

The lower the contrast between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more affordable your overall cooling bill can be. You can comfortably save energy during the winter by adjusting the thermostat to about 68°F while you're awake and setting it down while you're sleeping or away from home. During the summer, you can practice the same plan with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are at work and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as you're comfortable with when you are at home and want cooling and to provide humidity control if required.

You may have been told that doing these adjustments won't be worth it because your comfort system has to work extra hard to get back to your desired temperature, using up your savings, but the energy department suggests this isn't true, particularly for a furnace: “A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.”

Programmable and Smart Thermostats

Despite the benefits of setting your thermostat every time you leave for work, it’s easy to forget in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one advantage of programmable and smart thermostats. You can direct your thermostat to automatically shift to another temperature through your standard work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can change the temperature (or the programming schedule) from your smartphone or similar device. This is especially helpful if you’ve neglected to change the setting before going on vacation.

Don't Forget the Pets

If you have pets at home, think about their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with heavy fur won’t be comfortable with high temperatures. And pets with short fur won't always be comfortable with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Since temperature tolerances deviate universally by breed and species, look them up for your pets.

Additional Benefits of Changing Your Thermostat for When You’re Away

  • Carbon emissions - The harder you operate your heating and cooling, the more carbon emissions you generate. Preserving energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
  • HVAC Longevity - Overusing your HVAC unit can cut its life expectancy and cause more maintenance to be needed. It also means the air filter can clog up faster, making your air less clean.

If you have any questions about your air conditioner settings, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, call the pros at A-PLUS Service Experts, a big company with homegrown heart. We’re enthusiastic about making the world a cozy place to live. Whether we’re keeping things warm, cooling things down or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers and communities cozy and satisfied.

Experts — it’s in our name and central to our service. We work hard to help each member of our staff develop into a skilled professional. We work with the best and supply training, opportunities and assistance, so our teams can learn, grow and be prepared for any kind of challenge thrown their way.

Our total business strength and people distinguish us from the competition. With more than 4,000 team members collaborating on making you comfortable, we can deliver and innovate better than other companies. Our can-do, family attitude powers our teamwork and helps us get the job done promptly, and right — the first time.

Our combination of company size and unique expertise means we can offer more with the next big idea … which could come from anywhere and anyone. We are reinvigorating the industry by supporting each team member’s greatest ideas. That means our teams and customers can rest assured we’re moving, innovating, delivering, and in it for the long term, through the busy times and beyond.

We are A-PLUS Service Experts! Delivering strength, knowledge and support across every season.

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