Heating your home all winter long can add up — fast. But with North America’s coldest winter in 50 years, it’s also necessary. Unfortunately, this involves high heating costs for a lot of us which is why thermostats have become a popular choice for controlling the temperature at home. However, according to research, a lot of us make some costly mistakes when it comes to using it. In this article, we’ll look at the most common ones that people make when using their thermostat and how you can avoid them to keep your heating bill as low as possible whilst staying cozy and warm throughout the winter.
Mistake #1: Setting the wrong temperature
Setting the right temperature on your thermostat is key to feeling comfortable at home. However, these days a lot of people tend to overheat their homes, leading to wasted energy and restless, stuffy nights, resulting in headaches. And whilst comfort cannot be defined absolutely, the official cold weather plan for the US suggests living room temperatures of 70°F, whereas bedrooms and all other occupied rooms should be at 64°F. Rooms should not exceed 75°F.
Unfortunately, basic central heating systems don’t allow control of individual room temperatures and all too often there is only a single thermostat located in the hallway, making it more difficult to balance the temperatures at home. However, a simple tip can help here: Turn on the heating and set the radiator valve in your living room to a comfortable level. Then set the valves in the remaining rooms that you are using one level lower. For example, if your living room feels comfortable at level 4 on the radiator valve, your bedroom should be at level 3 or lower. Finally, the thermostat in the hallway should be set to 68°F – since this is the last place to warm up, this will ensure all rooms maintain a comfortable temperature without overheating. Unused rooms should have their doors closed and radiators set to the lowest level.
Mistake #2: Turning up the thermostat to heat the rooms more quickly
Mistake #3: Leaving the thermostat set low and keeping the heating on constantly because you think it’s more efficient than turning it on and off
As a general rule, the best thing to do is lower your temperature when you’re not at home. The science behind this is simple: the amount of heat your home loses is linked to the difference in temperature between inside your house and outside. The colder it is outside, the more heat you lose; the warmer it is inside, the more heat you lose. Accordingly, the less heat you lose, the less energy you have to use to maintain a comfortable temperature at home. That is why it’s more efficient to turn the heating down below your comfort levels when you’re away. For more information on this, please read our article on how to reduce heat loss in your home.
If setting a consistent, slightly lower temperature can save money, then why do so many people not follow this simple rule? The reason for that is easy to explain: coming home to a cold house causes most people to turn the thermostat up higher than normal comfort level, overheating the house and wasting the money they have saved by using a low temperature when they were out. This is where programmable thermostats work well, ensuring you come home to warm rooms that have been running efficiently when you were out.
Unfortunately, things can get a bit more complicated when your schedule changes or, also, with longer-response systems, such as radiators and hydronic underfloor heating. This is where a smart thermostat can help you save a lot of money. The best smart thermostats learn the exact time it takes to warm your house (which is unique to your home) and will use this in conjunction with how far away you are from coming home. By doing this, they make sure the system activates at just the right time automatically, getting the maximum efficiency without sacrificing comfort levels.