We really appreciate our home HVAC systems in the summer when the mercury starts rising! Unfortunately, staying comfortable comes with a hefty price tag. It’s important to stay comfortable, but you also owe it to yourself to find ways to manage your energy costs. Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision as you set your home thermostat this summer.
U.S. Department of Energy Recommendations
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re at home. Their research determined that 78 degrees strikes a sensible balance between comfort and energy costs. You’re certainly allowed to set your thermostat to any temperature you want, but a few degrees can make a big difference when your HVAC system runs all day.
The energy industry consistently has major supply problems during peak usage periods. Larger cities are often subjected to rolling blackouts when the demand for power exceeds supply. Restoring power to rural areas will also often be a lower priority during massive outages. Utility companies recommend voluntarily reducing power usage during peak seasons to lower the risk of outages, but they don’t have any control over what happens if their customers don’t follow their recommendations.
How to Determine Your Ideal Home Temperature
Many of us have joked about how Dad always seemed to know when someone was touching the thermostat. But now that the bill comes to us we understand. It’s now up to you how to decide where the thermostat is set, and it’s a big responsibility.
One technique that works for many homeowners is to adjust the household temperature up or down by a degree or two each day (or every few hours) until you find the right temperature. This must often be done covertly and is easier said than done. The outside temperature goes up and down all day long and requires adjustments. And when it comes to any “honor system,” even the most well-intentioned spouses and children can’t be trusted on a hot summer day. Fortunately, programmable thermostats have become increasingly more sophisticated and can do the hard work for you.
Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat
Keeping your house warmer while you’re away from home or while you and your family sleep can offer significant energy savings without affecting your comfort level. Your thermostat will help you program slight adjustments during your waking hours and larger adjustments while you’re out or asleep.
Many homeowners might not know that you can cool down a home more quickly when the thermostat is set to a higher temperature. When the interior temperature is higher, heat flows into the home more slowly. This means that it doesn’t take as much energy to cool your home down. Your HVAC system will get your home comfortable for your arrival, and you can even adjust it remotely using your smartphone.
But it doesn’t stop there! Smart thermostats offer a wide variety of features that can learn about you and your family and make decisions on their own. It can observe when you come and go, it will learn the settings that you like, and it can even connect to other systems. You typically get what you pay for when it comes to thermostats, but don’t feel pressured to buy the most expensive model if you don’t intend to use its additional features.
Other Ways to Improve Your HVAC Efficiency
Managing your thermostat is an important part of energy efficiency, and there are several additional ways to shave a little extra off your bills. Upgrading your windows or adding storm windows is a smart investment, and many installers will help you take advantage of the manufacturer’s rebates. Even if you can’t currently afford to upgrade your windows, you can use inexpensive weatherstripping and draft guards. Drapes, blinds and window treatments can block or filter direct sunlight and ceiling fans will help circulate the air.
It might also be time to replace your HVAC system with a newer and more energy-efficient model. The expected operational lifespan of an HVAC system is about 12 years, but a well-maintained unit can often beat the odds. Having said that, newer HVAC systems come with a lot of great new features and improved functionality at a drastically lower price tag. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having a dependable unit, and you should also see significant energy savings right away.
Contact Jco Heating A/C Electrical today for more information! We’ve been proud to serve Springfield, Oregon, since 2002 and are committed to honesty, integrity and outstanding customer service. We offer a full range of heating and cooling services in addition to indoor air quality and ductless system services.