The amount of electricity consumed and the effectiveness of energy savings varies greatly from home to home. The design and orientation of the home including the size and thermal efficiently, quality of insulation, local weather, number and quality of components and appliances, age and size of heating and cooling equipment, and many other factors can contribute to the use of energy in a home.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every one degree that you change your thermostat for 8 hours a day over an entire season, the effect can be as much as a 1% change to the heating or cooling energy usage. In other words, to calculate your possible heating or cooling savings to your home electric bill multiply the degrees changed by the number of hours each day changed (for the whole season) and then divide by 8 hours. Comfort dictates that during the cool season you use your HVAC to raise your temperature and in hot season to lower it. So let us assume that you heat your house up to 70 degrees when it is cold outside and cool in down to 78 degrees when it is hot outside. These are the standard set points that Energy Star uses.
By setting your temperature to 65 degrees at night instead of leaving it at 70 and adding an extra blanket to your bed, you could save as much as 20% during your 8 hours of sleep in the winter time, talk about easy savings. Similarly, in the summer, change out your big comforter for a sheet or a quilt. This will allow you to keep your thermostat higher.
So what temperature should you set your thermostat? Amigo Energy recommends that you set your thermostat to a level that you can have maximum savings without sacrificing comfort. We suggest that when you and your family are not at home, go ahead and turn your thermostat 10-15 degrees cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. Then when you are at home, adjust your thermostat as you feel suitable for you and your family. You should have different settings for during the day while you are at home and while you are away, as well as a separate setting for when you go to bed. The easiest way to do this is to set your programmable thermostat accordingly. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, make changing the temperature in your home part of your routine. Small changes in your thermostat setting can affect your bill and save you money.
During the month of April, some of us here at Amigo Energy will be experimenting with our own thermostat settings, to see how it plays out on our bills. Please keep in mind that the percent savings mentioned above is a factor of your heating and cooling cost and not of your total electricity usage.