We heat and cool our homes and businesses to maintain a comfortable temperature. So, it makes sense to adjust the thermostat setting if our comfort level changes throughout the day, right? If you’re only concerned with not being too warm or cool, the answer would be “Yes.” However, that strategy can be costly in multiple ways.
A better approach is to determine setpoints for heating and cooling and maintain them throughout the day.
The Cost of Frequent Thermostat Adjustments
You’re not alone if you tend to “tweak” your thermostat setting several times a day. It’s common to believe that a few degrees in temperature change here and there won’t make a difference. But that misconception can cost you.
- Use more energy. Every time your HVAC system kicks on, you’re using more energy. And depending on what you’re asking of your equipment, it may require a significant amount of energy. You’re naturally thinking about the need for a temperature change right where you are, but your HVAC system must raise or lower the temperature throughout the zone controlled by the thermostat. That means your entire home for most residential systems, for example.
- Increase your utility bill. Every time your furnace or air conditioner cycles on, you’re spending money. It’s easy to overlook that fact since you don’t see the increase in your bill in real time. But regardless, the cost is accruing.
- Increase wear and tear on your HVAC equipment. HVAC systems are rugged and dependable. But like any mechanical system, they have parts that wear out and must be replaced. The more cycles you put your system through, the faster that decline takes place.
- Cause more frequent service. It’s critical to care for your HVAC system properly, which should include regular inspections and maintenance by a certified professional, as well as repairs as needed. When you make your heating or cooling system work harder, it will need service more often. And, of course, there’s a cost associated with that service.
None of this is meant to say you shouldn’t ever adjust your HVAC system. But there’s a reasonable middle ground between never touching the thermostat and tweaking the temperature many times each day.
Picking the Perfect Temperature
The key to minimizing changes to your heating or cooling system’s setpoint—and avoiding the consequences of frequent modifications—is to find the right temperature for you and others. And all that’s required to do that is a little experimentation.
Ideally, you should find a string of four or five days where the forecast calls for consistent temperatures. Then, use a different setpoint each day and pay attention to your indoor environment and how it feels. You may even want to jot down some notes since “comfort level” can be difficult to quantify.
Keep in mind that other variables are involved, like what you’re wearing, your activity level, etc. Do your best to keep those factors consistent.
Typically, building occupants find a temperature in the 70s to be the most comfortable, so the results of your experiment will likely point to a setting in that range. But, of course, you should also consider your energy costs.
Let’s say it’s summertime, and you find 72 degrees to be the most comfortable. Obviously, you’ll spend less on cooling your home or business if you set your thermostat to something a little higher, like 75 or 77 degrees. Choosing your setpoint then becomes and exercise in balancing comfort and cost.
The same is true in winter. A setpoint of 73 degrees may feel great, but what if you dropped that down to 70? Or… What if there was a way to get the best of both worlds in summer and winter—optimal comfort and minimized costs? Actually, there is!
Simple Steps for Increasing Your Comfort
Many people find that they can give their HVAC system an “assist” by taking some simple steps to reduce its workload. For example, they dress light in the summertime and stay hydrated to increase their body’s natural cooling capacity. They also use ceiling fans or portable fans to create a little air movement. Even a slight breeze can significantly affect a person’s comfort.
You can take similar steps in wintertime. For instance, you can dress warmly—and in layers, which allows you to cool down a bit if necessary. You can also try to be more active throughout the day, as physical activity tends to have a warming effect. In addition, you can use a space heater to modify the temperature in a particular area without paying to raise the temperature throughout your home or business.
Exceptions to the Consistent HVAC Setpoint Recommendation
Finding and sticking with the ideal setpoint for your HVAC can keep you comfortable while controlling your energy costs. However, there are a few times when you may want to deviate from that rule. In your home, you’ll likely want to use a different setpoint while you sleep.
Most people find it more restful to have a lower temperature at night. So, while you might use a setpoint of 76 degrees on summer days, you may find a temperature of 70 degrees more conducive to sleep. The good news is that lower nighttime temperatures mean your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to reach and maintain your preferred temperature.
Another time to deviate from your setpoint is when your home or business is vacant for several hours. In your residence, that might mean workdays when no one is home. For a business, this typically is evenings and weekends.
Shifting back to your “comfort setting” after several hours in a more energy-efficient setting will require your HVAC system to kick on for a certain time. Consequently, you’ll want to experiment on how much to vary your settings to maximize your energy savings. But with a little effort, you’ll find your operational cost “sweet spot.”
Ask the HVAC Experts
You know your comfort zone better than anyone. But our experienced and certified HVAC expert can help you find the best way to stay in it—from optimizing the functioning of your heating and cooling systems to suggesting strategies for assisting them.
Contact Timberline Mechanical today to learn more about our residential, commercial and industrial HVAC services.
About Timberline Mechanical
Timberline Mechanical is a Boulder HVAC Contractor located in Boulder, CO, and serving the Colorado Front Range, including Broomfield, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Superior and Erie. We are dedicated to providing the intelligent solutions necessary to keep your Boulder Commercial HVAC equipment running efficiently and at its peak performance. Whether we are completing a service call request, providing Commercial HVAC Preventive Maintenance or conducting Special Projects work, we offer intelligent commercial HVAC solutions to ensure that your business needs are met. You can focus on your business while we make sure your commercial HVAC equipment is running smoothly. https://www.timberlinemechanical.com/
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Source: Financial Content