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Here’s My Best Advice for Setting Your Thermostat This Winter


Hello everyone, and welcome to 2016! I know you’ve probably already made your resolutions (I resolved to destroy my chew toys a bit slower this year) but I’d love to add one to your list at this late date. Don’t worry, it’s not a tough one to keep! It’s a resolution that you’ll pay special attention to how you set your home’s thermostat during the winter. Smart thermostat use means energy savings and lower heating bills… without needing to sacrifice comfort.

Clearing up thermostat misunderstandings

I’m going to put on my “Professor Olive” cap once more and talk about some sciency stuff. Many homeowners have mistaken beliefs about how their thermostats work. A thermostat isn’t like pressing down the gas pedal on a car, where the more your press it, the more the engine works. Setting a thermostat to the highest temperature possible (usually 85° or 90°F) doesn’t make the heating system produce more heat. It only makes the heating system stay on longer until the home reaches the target temperature.

There are three big problems with doing this:

  • First, it wastes a large amount of energy to keep the heater running that long to reach the high temperature.
  • Second, you don’t really want your house to be 90°F, do you? No matter how cold it may be outside, that’s an unbearably stuffy and roasting indoor temperature. And think of the dogs! I have thick coat on all time! You don’t want to expend all that extra energy to get to an uncomfortable temperature.
  • Third, the hotter it is inside your home, the faster the home loses heat to the outside, which is yet more energy waste. A lower (but still comfortable) temperature means slower heat loss and reduced energy consumption.

“Okay, Olive, but what temperature should I set the thermostat?” Here’s a case where you don’t need my advice: the U.S. Department of Energy has already done the research. According to them, you should maintain a setting of 68°F during the day when people are awake. At times when the house is empty, or during the evening when everyone’s asleep, set the temperature back by 8° to 10°. This can save you up to 20% off your heating bills over winter.

It helps immensely if you have a programmable thermostat in your house. If you still use an old manual model or a digital model without any features, call our team and arrange for a new thermostat installation. Believe me, it makes saving energy much easier (although I still need help with them because pushing buttons with paws is tough).

MK Russell & Abbott is here to see you have great heating this winter. We service Townsend, TN and throughout Blount, Know, and Loudon Counties.