Best Thermostat Settings for Summer and Winter

As the seasons change and Mother Nature goes from hot to cold, and back again, it is important to adjust your thermostat settings accordingly. By properly adjusting the thermostat for the season and the prevailing weather conditions, you can save money and help ensure that your heating and air conditioning systems are not wasting energy. You can also save your furnace and air conditioner from working any harder than they absolutely have to throughout the year.

Here are the best thermostat settings we recommend you use throughout the year.

Best Thermostat Settings for Summer

In the warm summer months, it is best to set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are at home. As Baby Bear would say, it's not too hot, and it's not too cold. It is sufficient to keep you from getting chilled and won't cause you to break a sweat. During the evenings you will want to raise the setting to roughly 82 degrees. This will help you sleep better and won't cause you to wake up with cold feet.

Of course, many people travel throughout the summer. That means there may be entire weeks when you won't be at home. For those times you will be away, it is best to set your thermostat at 85 degrees. This will cause your air conditioner to turn on only if the temperature within the home rises to levels that would cause damage to home electronics or foodstuffs in your pantry.

Best Thermostat Settings for Winter

In the cooler winter months, you have to be a little more careful with your thermostat settings. If you set it too high, your energy dollars will go right out the window. If you set it too low, you may be calling the plumber to repair busted pipes. Because of this, it’s a good idea to set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you are at home and awake. This is a nice, even temperature that won't cook or chill you. Plus, given the heavier winter clothing such as sweaters and turtlenecks that you'll be wearing, it will feel much warmer.

At night, or for times when you will be away at work or on vacation, it is best to lower the thermostat to 58 degrees. This will provide sufficient heat to keep pipes under sinks and in garages from freezing and it will ensure that your home does not consume energy when it doesn't need to.

Using Programmable Thermostats to Achieve the Best Thermostat Settings

Obviously, it isn't feasible for you to babysit your thermostat all year long. Not only is it time consuming, but it is logistically impossible if you work, travel, or enjoy spending time away from your home during the day. That is why it is a wonderful idea to install a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature in your home for extended periods of time so that you never have to worry about adjusting it. This makes changing your thermostat for spring, summer, fall and winter quick and easy.

Here are some of the benefits programmable thermostats have to offer and the features that make them ideal for use in your home. It should be noted that these will vary depending on the brand and model. As such, you will want to check the specific features of models you are considering before you make any purchase.

  1. Programmable thermostats allow you to program settings in blocks of time. Most people use 8-hour blocks when doing this. This provides the right amount of heat during waking hours, working hours and sleeping hours. Your settings can also be set to run in 7-day blocks that allow you to set specific temperature presets for weekdays and weekends.
  2. Using a programmable thermostat, you can change and adjust your settings at any time. Therefore, if you are going on vacation, wintering in a warmer climate or the weather patterns change, you can adjust your settings without losing your presets.
  3. While most older homes use just one thermostat to control the entire house, many newer homes now have multiple heating and cooling zones. Each of these zones can be controlled by a programmable thermostat. This allows your furnace or air conditioner to raise and lower the temperatures exactly where it is needed without wasting energy in other rooms in the house.
  4. Most, but not all programmable thermostats have indicators that tell you when it is time to change your air filters. There are also indicators to alert you when your furnace or air conditioner is malfunctioning. Both features will help you save on your heating and cooling costs and can alleviate the need for costly repairs. We recommend that you check your furnace filter monthly to see if it needs to be changed.

Clearly, programmable thermostats have some distinct advantages over the thermostats we all remember growing up. However, the newest technologies available now are smart thermostats.

Using Smart Thermostats to Achieve the Best Thermostat Settings

Smart thermostats take the wonderful benefits and features of programmable thermostats to the next level. Truly, these are the Ferraris of the heating and cooling industry. While their initial purchase price is more expensive than standard or programmable thermostats, the energy and cost savings they can provide over the long-run are well worth the investment.

In short, smart thermostats build upon the features of programmable thermostats. In addition to presets, zone controls, etc., they give you much more control over your home comfort. There are three kinds of smart technologies that you should know about:

  1. Connected thermostats - These Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostats allow you to control your temperature setting anywhere that you have access to a computer or smartphone. Most are touch screen operated, and many can be installed without the need to hire a technician. These are ideal if you often forget to set your thermostat or suddenly find that your plans have changed and you'll be coming home early from work or vacation.
  2. Learning thermostats - People are creatures of habit, and these thermostats learn your habits and adjust the temperatures within your home to fit your lifestyle. These are ideal for people who don't want to program their thermostat and have regular schedules that rarely change. After a month or two of using a learning thermostat, it will remember the best thermostat settings for you and your family.
  3. Smart grid technology - These are dependent on whether or not your municipality has joined the program or not. If this option is available to you, your home thermostat and your meter will be connected directly to the power grid. They will communicate with the electric company and will provide real-time data regarding your home's energy usage. In theory, this will make your monthly electric bill more accurate. It will also allow the power company to produce the perfect amount of energy throughout the day. The net effect will be less energy waste which will lead to lower energy bills for consumers.

In the end, you will have to find the best thermostat and determine the best thermostat settings for your home, family and lifestyle. There are many options available and each comes with their own benefits and features.