As heating and cooling professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re always on the lookout for important information and HVAC tips we can pass along to home and business owners. During the cooler season, what temperature should you set your thermostat at? This is a very common question. While the government recommended 68 degrees in winter months, does this temperature really apply to everyone? Actually, where you should set the thermostat depends on several factors, so 68 degrees may be a myth in some cases.
What our government recommends
After a bit of digging around, we determined the federal government recommends anywhere from 50 degrees to the “magical” 68 degrees for winter months – no matter where you live, or other factors. The mythical 68 degree temperature was derived by many variables, including the temperature outdoors, how energy efficient a home is, and the presence of heat from sources such as wood stoves, fireplaces, etc.
Because there really is no definitive answer from our government or other professional associations such as the North American Technician Excellence, Inc., American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers, and others, we decided to gather information on our own and do a few calculations. Our results were interesting, to say the least!
Here’s how it works out:
For each degree the thermostat was turned down to a cooler temperature, the savings on utility bills was approximately one percent. Beginning at the standard 72 degrees at which most home and business owners feel comfortable in the Bay Area, we reduced the setting to the government recommended 68 degrees, which is a 4 degree reduction in temperature. The one percent savings on utility bills worked for this 4 degree reduction, and even to 10 or 15 degree reductions. By turning the thermostat down for 8 hours each day, customers could reduce the costs of heating their homes by about 15 percent or more, if the temperature was dropped by 15 degrees from 72 (essentially, the thermostat set on 57 degrees). But is the savings worth it?
San Francisco homeowners don’t have to stay cold all winter to save on energy costs
Ultimately, your family should decide when you are comfortable. Of course you don’t want to turn the thermostat down four or five degrees all at once, but reducing the temperature indoors one degree each day until you hit that mythical 68 degree mark can be accomplished. It takes time to acclimate to a new temperature, so you don’t want to do it all at once. By dialing down one degree at a time, you can decide what temperature is comfortable when you begin getting complaints from family members. In addition, if you must set the temperature at 70 or 72 degrees in order to enjoy the greatest comfort, a programmable thermostat will help keep your home comfortable while realizing more energy savings.
At Ortiz Heating & A/C, we know that not all families are comfortable at 68 degrees. How can a programmable thermostat help? We invite Bay Area home and business owners to contact us today for more information.