Winter heating confusion
October 24, 2011 12:21 PM Subscribe
How do I use a programmable thermostat/heater efficiently in the winter? Specifically, how cold should I let it get when no one is home?
posted by andrewesque to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Which approach is better, from a cost perspective? I live in Chicago, with forced-gas heating and relatively good insulation in an apartment. Assume this is in the middle of winter, so something like 25 F out in the daytime and 10 F at night.
1. Heat at 68 when the occupant is home and 60 when the occupant is not home.
2. Heat at 68 when the occupant is home and 50 when the occupant is not home.
So in the first situation, the thermostat doesn't have to work "as hard" to bring it back up to 68 because the house doesn't get as cold in the daytime. However, in the second situation, when the occupant is not home the thermostat only kicks on to heat the house to 50, instead of 68, which uses less gas.
I always thought approach 1 was better (because the costs of heating the house back up outweigh the savings from keeping the house really low when no one is home), but my friend recently questioned this and my Googling has me confused.
Everyone agrees you shouldn't heat it at 68 all day long. But how low can I go? Should I really be setting my thermostat as low as possible, as long as the pipes don't freeze, when no one is home?