The proper thermostat can make a big difference in your home’s comfort and how much energy you use.
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Information to help you save
Older, manual thermostats are often not as accurate as new electronic models.
They can cause wide swings in room temperature or make your heat run more often than necessary. To check the accuracy of your thermostat, walk through your house with an instant-read cooking thermometer to see if the air temperature matches your setting. It might be time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat.
Electronic, programmable thermostats can help you save on heating costs.
Newer models have “smart” features such as preprogrammed “night” and “vacation” energy-saving settings that automatically lower the temperature. You’ll never forget to turn down the heat — the thermostat does it for you. Make sure you set the program to fit your schedule and to optimize savings.
Different heating systems require different thermostats.
Choose energy-saving settings.
One size does not fit all. For example, if you have a heat pump, an intelligent recovery thermostat is best. See our How to Choose a Thermostat (PDF) brochure for more information.
A programmable thermostat is just a tool to help you save; you still need to choose energy-efficient settings:
A good energy-saving setting is 68 degrees. Every degree you lower your thermostat will save an estimated 2 percent on your heating bill. At bedtime, or when you’re away, drop it to 60 degrees to save more energy. (Exceptions: for ceiling cable heat, the maximum setback is 2 to 3 degrees. Heat pump systems vary; see our Heat Pump section for setback recommendations.)
Set your thermostat to 75 to 78 degrees; you can raise it at bedtime or when you’re away to save more energy.
Higher heat is not faster heat.
Turning the thermostat higher will not warm your house faster; it just overheats your home and wastes energy. Lowering the air conditioning won’t cool faster, either.
Keep lamps away from the thermostat.
The heat from the light bulb can warm up the thermostat, causing your heat to shut off before your rooms have actually reached the desired set point. Then, in turn, you might be tempted to turn up the heat, which wastes energy.