While I love the snowy winter weather and the greenery of summer, I am never thrilled by the spike in my heating and cooling bills. When these two peak energy-use seasons hit, I will cozy up with an extra blanket or open the windows and turn on the fans. But sometimes, that isn’t enough. And because I’d rather take any extra money I have and spend it on a ski or beach vacation, I'm always looking for ways to save on my heating and cooling bills. It turns out the answer is simple - setting my thermostat to the right temperature.
Here are the secrets to energy efficient heating and cooling:
The optimal temperatures
The trick to saving money on your heating and cooling bills is setting your thermostat to the most energy efficient temperatures for the season, as well as adjusting the temp by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit when you're away or asleep. Here are the specific numbers to remember, as recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE):
- Winter: Set the thermostat to 68 degrees when you're home and turn it down when sleeping or out of the house for long periods of time.
- Summer: 78 degrees is the sweet spot when you're home but turn it up when you're away. Aim for the smallest difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures as comfortably possible for the most savings.
The cost savings
With the right adjustments, you can save about 10 percent on your annual heating and cooling bills, as estimated by the DOE. The savings are even greater in regions with milder climates, where homeowners can afford to set back or raise the temp even more than those dealing with more severe temperatures.
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More ways to save
While you can manually adjust the temperature in your home, installing a programmable or smart thermostat will automate the process by saving your heating and cooling preferences. The location of your thermostat can also affect the readings, which may lead to inaccurate adjustments. According to the DOE, thermostats perform best when they're installed on interior walls away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways and windows.
Other ways to cut costs without sacrificing comfort include:
The last thing you want is to be stuck without AC in the summer or heat in the dead of winter. That's why being prepared ahead of time for HVAC system repairs and replacements is always a good strategy. See how plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs.