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Winter Thermostat Settings: The Big Mistake Many People Make!

There are plenty of misconceptions about home heating out there, such as “Heating systems don’t need regular maintenance.” (They absolutely do! We hope you’ve already scheduled your maintenance for this year.) Another one is how to properly set the thermostat. Many people make the mistake of putting the thermostat at the highest setting, and then lowering it when they get too warm.

Why You Don’t Want to Do This!

Here’s the underlying error with using the thermostat this way: the thermostat isn’t a type of throttle. When you “press the pedal down,” i.e. push up the setting to higher and higher temperatures, you aren’t making the heating system work any faster. The thermostat is actually a kind of switch, turning the heater and the fans on and off. When the thermostat is at a high setting, such as 85°F or 90°F, the heating system simply continues to run and send out heated air until the thermostat senses that the temperature target has been reached. It then shuts off.

In other words, a higher temperature setting makes your heating system work longer than it should—and all to achieve a temperature that isn’t even comfortable in the first place. (You don’t want your house to be 85°F, no matter how cold it is outside.) It’s much more energy efficient and comfortable to keep the thermostat set steadily at a lower temperature.

There’s another problem with high thermostat settings, which is that heat concentration will rapidly escape the house to the outdoor cold. A lower temperature slows this heat loss because there’s less temperature difference between inside and outside.

What is a good lower temperature setting for a thermostat? We recommend starting at 68°F, and then adjusting from there to meet the household’s comfort needs. We also advise wearing warmer clothes to help keep down the thermostat level. You’ll save money and help your heating system enjoy a long service life.

Advanced Mechanical Services is here for all your winter comfort needs in Ridgewood, NJ and throughout the Tri-State area.

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