Make your homecoming even happier with this one trick
According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can help you save as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling costs. And the best part? It will heat up the house before you get home.
- Turn the heat down while you’re out of the house this winter to save money.
- A programmable thermostat can help you save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs.
- Plus, it makes your house much more comfortable to come home to.
My parents were great at finding ways to save money when I was a kid. We learned to always switch off the lights when we left a room, take short showers and turn the thermostat down when we left for the day.
Unfortunately, this meant that if you happened to be the first person home that evening, you had to enter a cold house and wait what seemed like eternity to turn the frozen tundra into a habitable environment that wouldn’t immediately make your toes fall off from severe frost bite (yes, it really was that dramatic, but give me a break; I was a teenager).
If only they had purchased a programmable thermostat, we all could have suffered a little less. According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can help you save as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling costs. And the best part? It will heat up the house before you get home.
You might be thinking, won’t it cost more to heat a cold house up instead of just keeping it at a consistent temp all day? Surely my furnace will have to work so hard to warm up the cold space, I won’t even save anything. Well, you’re not the only one to wonder that, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not the case. Here’s how the DOE explains it:
“A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning.”
The only reason you might not want to immediately run out and buy a programmable thermostat is if you have a heat pump. But otherwise, make your kids (and toes) happy, and consider installing one before winter sets in.
Sarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.