Smart Thermostat in Wichita, KS

How warm does your home have to be when you’re not home? When you’re heading out of the house, it might be for any number of hours for work, school, or other obligations and activities. If you’re not going to be there, why not spare your heating system the work and your energy bill the expense of keeping your house at the optimal temperature? If you’re inclined to do this, then you’re probably working under the assumption that lowering your thermostat or even turning it off entirely will result in energy savings and prevent wear and tear on your home’s heating system. However, that’s not always automatically the case, and there are a number of considerations that come into play about doing this right.

How Long Are You Leaving Your House?

Before you touch your thermostat when leaving home, there are two primary factors to consider. The first is how long you’re going to leave your house because that might impact whether or not you’ll even lower the temperature. The second is how low you can go and yield a potential benefit without hurting anything in the process.

If you’re going to be away for less than four hours, then there’s probably no potential benefit from changing your thermostat settings. While lower settings should result in energy efficiency, you’re likely to just offset them due to the energy expended later when your home’s heating system has to get back to the temperatures you prefer when you are back from your trip outside the home.

Having said all that, any trip away from home for more than four hours in a single day might be a good time to adjust your thermostat. In the winter, you can usually lower it by 5 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re curious, you can also get notable energy savings in the summer if you raise the temperature on the thermostat up 5 degrees F. In either case, if you move the thermostat more than 5 degrees F, you’ll burn your energy savings off with the correctional energy used to restore your normal temperature when you get home.

If you are leaving your home for a vacation or overnight travel, then you might lower your thermostat anywhere from 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. That will achieve energy savings while you’re gone, and you won’t waste too much money heating your home when no one is there. Getting your home back up to normal settings when you get back won’t use so much energy that it offsets your savings.

When you’re going to sleep, you’re not physically leaving your home. However, it is still a good time to consider lowering your thermostat while you’re in bed and dozing. Lower temperatures in your home might also help your body relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep for the duration of the night. In cases such as these, you might want to lower your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If your normal daytime heat setting is 70, then your night temperature could be anywhere from 60 to 63.

Why Not Turn It Off?

You might think that turning the system off entirely would give you the most energy savings, but there are a few issues with this approach. It’s true that your system wouldn’t raise your utility bill while it’s completely shut down, nor would the components suffer any wear and tear. On the other hand, HVAC systems often use the most energy and take the most beating when they’re first starting up after a period of inactivity. They would also have to expend energy in highly inefficient ways when trying to get your home back to a normally comfortable temperature when things inside may have gotten pretty cold. Secondary damage to your home is another risk involved with this approach, such as pipes that might freeze and then burst.

A Smart Thermostat Might Help

If you want to save money while managing your thermostat with ease, then a smart thermostat is a great way to make sure your home is warm and cozy for you when you get home. You can program it based on your normal schedule of leaving home, but you can also connect many models to your personal smartphone. In doing so, you can update your temperature settings remotely. Since your home will need at least a little time to get the temperature back to where you want it, you can tell it to start doing so before you even start coming back home. That way, you walk in the door to a temperature that you are comfortable with right away.

Keep Everyone in Mind

If you live alone, then you can set your thermostat to whatever you find personally preferable. However, if you have anyone else living with you, it is important to keep in mind that different members of your household may have different preferences when it comes to how warm they prefer the house to be. Everyone in the household may also have different schedules, which would influence when you schedule your thermostat to run at a lower temperature as it would not make sense to lower the temperature for just a couple of hours or turn down the temperature while someone is inside the household. Improper management of this can lead to some of the aforementioned issues regarding energy management and undue wear and tear on your HVAC system, both of which are things that most people would generally prefer to avoid.

You also need to keep your pets in mind. Domesticated pets might not be acclimated to colder temperatures. That’s particularly true if their fur is trimmed or thinned on a regular basis. Dogs are usually comfortable with anything over 68 F, and cats are usually content with anything over 70 F. If you drop the thermostat while the dogs are still home, don’t go lower than 60 F to ensure that they are comfortable while you are not home to watch over them.

Technology Can Do This for You

Turning down the thermostat when you leave home might help you save on your energy bills, but it’s also possible to overdo it. You can possibly put undue stress on your system or cause issues for any pets you might own. Upgrades to your HVAC system might give you the utility savings you’re looking for, and a smart thermostat can make changes for you automatically.

At Fahnestock HVAC, we can install a smart thermostat that works with your current system. Our team also offers repair, maintenance, and installation services for heating and cooling systems, including furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and hydronic radiant floor heating. You can turn to us for all your plumbing needs as well. We provide plumbing repairs and replacements, install tankless water heaters, and perform bathroom renovations. Our team even includes licensed electricians who provide electrical repairs and perform system upgrades and replacements. Call us at Fahnestock HVAC today to set up an appointment for your home in Wichita, KS or the surrounding area.