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Guide: Adjust my thermostat

Steps to get it done:

Check out this guide, and get motivated
Heating and Cooling makes up about half of the energy usage of any home and adjusting your thermostat can reduce your heating or air conditioning bill by about 3% for every degree you move it.
Step 1: Get a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will allow you to change the temperature set points depending on the day of the week and the time of day. Most people want a 5 + 2 programmable thermostat, which will allow for a weekday schedule and a weekend schedule. These are available at most hardware stores.
Step 2: Adjust Setpoints
You should be setting the occupied temperatures to lower than 68 in the winter and higher than 78 in the summer. The more extreme, the better from a heating and cooling standpoint. For unoccupied setpoints, the heating should be below 65 and the cooling should be above 83.
Step 3: Set Schedule
You can set the thermostat to be unoccupied while you are at work, and then to turn on heating and cooling equipment shortly before you will be home. You can also set it to unoccupied when you will be away.
Start this Guide!


Sam Fladung May 28, 2009
Can I check this off if I manually swat the thermostat down from 65 to off whenever I leave the house?
Jeff Gunther June 5, 2009
The advantage of this is that a programmable thermostat will never forget to turn it down for you if you program it to, which is the advantage of this guide. So for most people, we'd say no. But ultimately, it's up to you. If you are down at 65 already, then you are in fact doing better than the guide would get you to if you followed it perfectly. If you are content with that, you can check it off. If you think that you could still make additional savings by following the guide (with lower setpoints) then leave it undone so you can do it later.
Sam Fladung June 6, 2009
The thing is I think my efficiency would probably go down if I followed this guide with a standard COTS unit. Currently if I forget to swat it (which happens rarely) I lose approx 8 hours during the day (when less heat would be used for a given setpoint). If I use a standard automatic unit, I would lose "heat time" any time I got home late. Since I will get home after 9-10 a couple days a week (not usually planned in advance on a regular schedule) I would be losing 8-10 (9/10PM- 5PM *2) heat hours a week using it properly.

To get any additional savings I would either need the auto unit to have an easy to access "suppress" button/switch or some way for it to know when I'm in the house. Most of the units I've seen don't do this easily.
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