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Woman setting thermostat to reduce costs

What Temperature Should I Put My Heat on To Save Money?

When the winter months roll around and temperatures drop, many households see an increase in electricity bills. That’s because they need more heat to remain comfortable. So, what temperature should you set your heat on to save money?

To save money and still be comfortable, you should set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Still, you should repair or upgrade your heating system to be more efficient. Weatherproof your home to prevent heat loss, as well. Lastly, investing in a smart thermostat can help you manage your heating automatically for more savings.

Key Takeaways

  • The ideal temperature to save money is 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Proper insulation is a way to compound your savings as a home improvement that will make your heat last longer.
  • A smart thermostat is recommended by most experts.

What Is the Best Temperature To Set My Thermostat in Winter To Save Money?

On average, 68 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal cost-saving temperature during cold weather months.

However, this is a rule of thumb, and the ideal thermostat setting to save money while keeping your household comfortable depends on several factors.

Here are the factors that affect how much heating you need:

  • Number of people in your house. The more people there are in your home, the lower you can set your thermostat. That’s because they’ll generate more body heat to warm the space. However, that means you’ll need more heat if there are fewer people.
  • Time of day. Some times of the day are naturally warmer than others. If there’s plenty of direct sunlight in the middle of the day, you’ll need less heating. The opposite is true if the outside is significantly colder.
  • Heating system. The efficiency of your heating system also plays a role. You may have to increase the heating if yours isn’t efficient enough to keep your home warm.
  • Home insulation. Lastly, the state of your home insulation. Good insulation will retain heat within the home, reducing the need for excessive heating.

All of the above factors into the best temperature to set if you want to save money in the winter. Don’t worry if that seems too complicated, though. As you’ll discover below, there are rules of thumb you can follow to find the ideal thermostat setting to stay warm and save money.

What's the Ideal Thermostat Setting?

Determining the ideal thermostat setting hinges on personal comfort, energy efficiency goals, and household dynamics.

  • Don’t just set and forget. Setting the thermostat to 68°F (20°C) in winter and 78°F (25°C) in summer when you're home, then lowering or raising it when you're away or asleep, helps save on heating and cooling costs, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Use a smart thermostat. Investing in programmable or smart thermostats can automate temperature adjustments based on your schedule, optimizing comfort and energy savings. Zoning systems provide further customization, allowing independent temperature control in different areas of your home, ensuring comfort where needed while conserving energy elsewhere.
  • Ceiling fans and windows are additional options. Additional strategies include utilizing fans and natural ventilation to improve air circulation and comfort, as well as maintaining HVAC systems for optimal efficiency.

By finding the right balance between comfort and energy efficiency, you can create a comfortable living environment while minimizing energy consumption and costs.

Why You Should Balance Comfort and Efficiency with Your Winter Thermostat Setting

Most people only think about their comfort when considering what thermostat temperature to use. However, the minimal effort it takes to balance comfort and efficiency does offer plenty of benefits.

For one thing, putting some thought into your temperature settings ensures that all occupants of your home are comfortable and satisfied. That includes the friends and family who come to visit during the festive season.

Simultaneously, you will enjoy financial savings to channel to more important things. For example, you can use the money you save to invest in a smart thermostat. Investing in one of those will help you save even more, compounding your benefits!

A man frustrated by his heating bill.

How To Maximize Savings with a Smart Thermostat

We mentioned it above, if you're prioritizing efficiency, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. These modern devices offer automation and remote control features, allowing you to adjust the temperature automatically throughout the day to better suit your needs. Plus, you can conveniently tweak the thermostat settings from anywhere using your smartphone or another internet-connected device.

To fully reap the benefits of a smart thermostat, it's essential to ensure that your heating system operates efficiently. Additionally, your home should be properly weatherproofed and insulated to prevent heat loss.

Three well-rated smart thermostats on the market include:

  1. Nest Learning Thermostat. Known for its intuitive learning capabilities, the Nest thermostat adapts to your schedule and preferences over time, optimizing energy usage.
  2. Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control. This thermostat features built-in Alexa voice control and room sensors to help maintain consistent temperatures throughout your home.
  3. Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat. Equipped with geofencing technology and smart room sensors, the Honeywell T9 allows for precise temperature control and energy savings based on your occupancy patterns.

Investing in a smart thermostat can not only enhance your comfort but also contribute to energy savings and overall efficiency in your home.

3 Reasons Why Your Electricity Bill Might Increase In the Winter

You’ve likely seen your electricity bill go up during the winter months. That’s especially true if you’ve stayed in your home for several years.

As you might’ve guessed, your heating system is partially responsible. That’s why managing your heating can impact your bills significantly. Still, heating isn’t the only reason behind that increase. 

Here are the top 3 reasons your bill might increase in the winter:

More People Inside the House

The first reason your electricity bill goes up is that more people are inside your house. The winter months are often when friends and family visit. 

As a result, your electrical appliances get used significantly more. For example, things like your microwave oven and heating system consume more power around this time.

Colder Weather

Next, the weather outside is much colder than usual. Some of the heat inside your home will escape; that’s normal. But some houses that aren’t well-insulated will lose more heat than usual.

Heat Is Running for Longer

Often, old or worn-out heating systems must work longer and harder to keep your home comfortable. That means they’ll consume more power and raise your bill significantly. That’s precisely why you should repair or upgrade your heating system before winter.

How the Cost of Electricity is Calculated for a Heater

Calculating the cost to power your household heater consists of three variables:

  • Power. First, identify the heater’s power consumption. That’s measured in kilowatts.
  • Time. Then, multiply the power consumption with time, i.e. the number of hours that heater runs.
  • Rate. Finally, multiply the figure above by how much your local power company charges for electricity.

In other words, the electricity cost to power your household heater is calculated with this formula:

  • Cost = Power x time x rate.

Two out of the three variables above are within your control. Firstly, repairing or upgrading your heater will reduce how much power it uses to generate heat. Doing so will also reduce how long that heater must run to keep your home warm.

Simply put, ensuring that your household heater is performing optimally will significantly reduce your heating costs.

Energy Savings Per Degree

Remember: The energy and money you could save by lowering your heating just by one degree is significant. Studies have shown you can reduce your electricity bill by 1% and 3% for every degree you lower your thermostat.

Investing in your household heating system will save you money this year and every winter afterward.

The Best Hours To Use or Conserve Electricity

Electricity usage throughout the day is never constant. Some hours are when it's best to use whatever power you need. Similarly, you can save a lot by conserving energy during other hours.

When it comes to heating, you can conserve plenty of electricity at night while sleeping. That’s because you’ll require less heating while sleeping comfortably under your covers.

Meanwhile, an excellent time to use electricity is during off-peak hours. Those are the hours of the day when your local power company charges a lower rate for electricity usage.

When Is the Cheapest Time To Use Electricity In The Winter?

The cheapest time to use electricity in the winter is during off-peak hours. Those hours can differ by location and service provider. So, you must consult your local power company for those hours.

Off-peak hours are when there’s a lower demand for power on the local grid. The power company lowers its rate during those hours, allowing you to save money.

In contrast, peak hours are when most people in your area use a lot of energy. The power company raises rates to manage demand and prevent people from overloading the grid.

At this point, you’ve discovered the answer to the question, “What should I put my heat on to save money?” However, you can save even more by lowering that temperature at night when sleeping or when your home is empty. Meanwhile, you can save more by investing in a smart thermostat, a more energy-efficient heating system, and correctly weatherproofing your home.

Related: How to save money on other bills while renting an apartment

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