Expert Advice: Program Your Thermostat To Save Money

If you’ve never touched your thermostat and have no idea what to do about programming it, you aren’t alone – many Canadian homeowners are totally intimidated by this little device. But did you know that programming the thermostat can actually save you up to 15% a year on your energy costs?

The average household temperature in Canada is around 21 degrees, and according to National Resources Canada, lowering the temperature in your home by 2 – 3 degrees will get you to the optimum point for energy savings. During the day when you’re not at home or at night while you’re sleeping, reducing the temperature can save you money without adversely affecting the comfort level of your home.

Lowering the temperature too much, however, can affect humidity and air circulation in the house. In the winter, if you allow the temperature in the house to drop 4 – 6 degrees below the average you can create a humid environment, which will lead to problems with condensation and moisture.

Likewise, too drastic a difference in temperatures can cause problems with your air circulation.

Setting the temperatures to a difference of 2 – 3 degrees and keeping interior doors open will help keep the air circulating and ensure the house returns to a comfortable temperature in a reasonable amount of time.

Manual or programmable, there are several thermostat brands available, but you will need to adjust their per-programmed settings to suit your particular needs.

  • Set your thermostat to shut down the heat and air conditioning automatically when you leave the house for the day, and to turn back on 20 to 30 minutes before you expect to return.
  • Program your thermostat to reduce temperatures when you’re heating the house (or increase when you’re cooling it) about 30 to 60 minutes after you normally go to bed, and set it to return to “awake” mode 20 – 30 minutes before your alarm goes off in the morning.
  • Use different settings for the weekdays than you do for the weekends.
  • Override your normal programming to shut everything off when you’re going on vacation. Of course, if you live in a cold climate where there is a fear of pipes freezing over the winter months, you can keep the temperature at or above 13 degrees.

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