Changing your thermostat temperature throughout the day can save energy and reduce your bills. Though some people believe it's more energy efficient to maintain an even temperature, raising or lowering the thermostat setting by a few degrees usually reduces the energy you use. However, the effect isn't the same across all heating systems

Programmable Thermostats

The most energy efficient method of adjusting the temperature inside your home is to use a programmable thermostat, which can reduce your energy bill up to $180 a year. At night, when everyone's tucked up in bed and during the day if no one's home, there's no sense in keeping your home toasty.

A programmable thermostat manages the heating and cooling of your home according to your family's schedule, which you input into the device. You can program your HVAC thermostat to raise the temperature of your home in the mornings and evenings, when your family is at home but not in bed.

Urban Myth

The idea that changing your thermostat temperature isn't energy efficient is an urban myth. According to, some homeowners won't adjust their HVAC thermostat because they believe the furnace has to work harder to raise the temperature in a cool house than it does to maintain a constant, even warmth in the home.

In fact, maintaining an even temperature in your home isn't energy efficient—your home loses more heat when it's warm than when it's cool. If you set back your thermostat for part of the day, you don't use up more energy to warm your home up than you saved.

Exceptions to the Rule

On the other hand, certain heating systems do work best when the thermostat setting stays the same. Heat pumps don't work as efficiently when the temperature is set back, resulting in more energy wasted than saved. However, some companies offer programmable thermostats for heat pumps that make the systems more efficient.

Other heating systems like radiant floor heating and steam heating take so long to adjust that setting back the temperature isn't effective. However, a specially designed programmable thermostat can start the system at the right moment so your home is warm when you need it to be.

Though there isn't one solution for every system, it's usually more energy efficient to adjust your thermostat temperature to match your family's heating needs. For more answers to your heating questions, contact Ragsdale.

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