Is There a Correct Temperature to Set Your Furnace This Winter?
The age-old battle over the furnace setting has divided families and roommates for decades. It’s always a continual negotiation between a temperature that feels comfortable to everyone and saving on your energy costs. There are many opinions on what the perfect temperature should be, but the question remains, is there an actual perfect temperature that will settle the question once and for all?
A quick search on the Internet will reveal a plethora of answers. A temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is typically considered comfortable for most, but there are many variations on this. There is no absolute right answer, but there are a few guidelines that can help you choose the best one that’s right for you. Here are some tips to help you resolve the question in your home.
Don’t Go Too Low
If you think that sweaters and wool socks provide an excellent solution to the heating problem, it is still recommended that you do not go below 63. Some sources go as low as 55 as the minimum temperature for your thermostat. It takes more energy to heat a home that is too cold.
Your furnace will not work any harder, and it will work at the same pace as when you are warming up the room from a higher temperature. However, it will have to stay on and run longer to reach the set temperature. It’s not that your furnace has to work harder, but it must run longer, which takes more fuel.
Get a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
One way to reach a balance between energy use and temperature is to install a programmable or smart thermostat. These thermostats allow you to set a program that will turn the temperature down when you’re not at home and up again before you return home. Smart thermostats can often integrate with your smartphone and allow you to adjust the thermostat up as you leave work so that it’s the perfect temperature when you arrive. These solutions mean that you do not waste excessive energy when you’re not using it.
Choose the Lower End of Comfort
Keeping your home at a balmy, tropical temperature may feel nice, but it won’t feel so nice when the bill comes. Most recommend keeping your furnace between 68 and 70 degrees. You will find that after about a week at a lower temperature, your body becomes accustomed to it, and it no longer feels cold to you. You will also be surprised what some cozy sweaters, socks, and throws will do to keep you warm and comfortable.
Get a Humidifier
Installing an inline humidifier on your furnace or getting a standalone one adds moisture to the air, which makes it feel warmer. The air in the room feels warmer, and this means you will feel comfortable at a lower temperature. Every degree you can lower your thermostat saves between 1-3% on your electric bill. Those savings add up throughout the winter, especially during peak heating seasons.
Boost the Efficiency of Your Furnace
If your furnace is not heating properly or distributing the heat properly, you may feel like you need to turn up the furnace to compensate. Having regular maintenance and routine inspections on your furnace will help make sure that it is operating as efficiently as possible. This helps it use less energy, and it means that you can lower the thermostat to save on energy costs even further.
Maybe your furnace has seen better days, and you keep having to spend on repair costs. Considering a new furnace might seem like a big expense, but an old, inefficient furnace might be costing you more every month than having a new one installed. New furnace systems let you take advantage of zone heating, which means only heating the rooms that you are currently using. This can also add up to big savings.
Change Your Furnace Filters
If it seems like you’re having to turn up the furnace more over time and that a higher temperature no longer seems as comfortable as it used to, the problem may be your furnace filters. Dirty furnace filters block the airflow and can force your furnace to work harder. This means that you will have to keep turning up the thermostat to get the same result you used to at a lower temperature.
Failing to change your furnace filters can also result in an expensive repair. It is generally recommended that you change your furnaces between once and twice a month during peak season. This will allow you to keep your furnace running efficiently and allow you to lower the thermostat by a few degrees.
Seal and Insulate Your Home
If you have major leaks around your windows, doors, or your home, and they are not properly insulated, this can cause you to have to turn up the furnace. A drafty home costs more to heat than one that is sealed properly with weatherstripping, properly fitting windows, and insulation. Having an energy audit to find leaks and places where heat escapes can give you insight into ways that you can improve the efficiency of your furnace and enjoy the cost savings of lowering the thermostat.
Is 68 the Perfect Temperature?
The most commonly quoted perfect temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no actual scientific reason for this, but it is four degrees lower than the commonly held belief that 72 is the most comfortable temperature. Lowering the thermostat by 4 degrees can result in anywhere between a 4-12% reduction in your energy bill. When you add this up over six months, then it can result in significant savings. Lowering the temperature to 68 degrees is usually not enough for most people to notice. At most, you might feel like putting on a sweater and a warm pair of socks.
This article has presented a list of ways that can help you feel warmer in your home, make your furnace work more efficiently, and save on your heating bills. Any of these tips alone will help you save some heating costs during the winter. If you use this as a checklist and combine these tips, you may be surprised at how low you can set your thermostat and stay warm.
The best news is that the argument over the thermostat does not have to continue. There are things you can do to make your home more comfortable at a lower thermostat setting. Lowering your thermostat does not mean you have to suffer. You can enjoy comfort and lower energy costs at the same time.
One of the best steps you can take is to have your furnace inspected to keep it working as efficiently as possible. Our professionals at Hoff Heating & AC serve O’Fallon, MO, and the surrounding areas. We will be happy to inspect your furnace and make any repairs that are necessary to allow you to enjoy the savings of a lower thermostat. Contact us so that we can schedule your appointment before the winter chill arrives. We provide heating, cooling, humidity control, indoor air quality, and geothermal services.