Absolute Zero – What’s the Most Efficient Temperature at Home

Many homeowners are asking the question, “What’s the best temperature for my home to save on energy costs?”
A lot depends on the size of the home, how well insulated it is and how efficient your heating and cooling systems are. There is a way to determine the perfect comfort settings for your home that saves money too. Setting your thermostat back by 10-15 degrees when you are asleep or away from home can save you up to 15 percent per year on your energy bills providing that the temperature stays set for at least eight hours. Let’s look at typical heating and cooling system use and how programmable thermostats can help.

Typical Use

The problem that many consumers face is keeping the home at a comfortable temperature setting without incurring huge utility bills. Like leaving your car running in the driveway when you are not going anywhere, many people assume that leaving the heat or air conditioning on when they are not home is a waste of money, but they are mistaken. If you left the heat or air off all day and then turned it on when you returned home, the unit would have to cycle continuously to return it to the previous comfort settings which would void any savings you may have had. You can also potentially save even more money if you routinely check your units in order to avoid costly cooling and heating repairs.

Another point is with no air circulation, there is no way to remove the moisture from the humidity that accumulates with no air conditioning. This encourages mold growth on furniture, walls and woodwork.

The Solution

The solution to the problem is to create settings for the home that include temperature settings for when you are home and away or sleeping. Energy Star recommends you keep settings at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. Just turn the thermostat down 10 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep. These are recommendations; you can adjust your settings by one degree until you reach a temperature that is comfortable for you. Just keep in mind that the lower the temperature, the lower your energy bills will be.

Factory Settings

Some thermostats have factory pre-sets and allow you to program up to four different temperature settings. You can customize your settings for different times of the day to maximize the heating and cooling benefits.

Use Fans with Air Conditioning

If you have ceiling fans, using them in combination with your heating and cooling system allows you to set the temperature a little higher without sacrificing comfort. It is estimated that you can actually raise the temperature in summer another 5 degrees if using the fan also. It helps circulate the heated or cooled air making it feel warmer or cooler than it actually is.


It also helps to cover your windows in summer during the hottest part of the day to stay cooler. Windows are a source of geothermal heat so to take advantage of a little free heating, open shades during the winter when it’s sunny to warm up rooms early in the morning.

Weather Stripping and Insulation

You already know how important weather stripping and insulation are for staying warm in winter, but did you know they also help with cooling in the summer as well? Insulation blocks heat as much as it does cold and sealing air leaks keeps the cool air inside where it belongs. It is easier to maintain comfort settings when everything is airtight with a good seal.

A programmable thermostat is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Raising the temperature in summer and lowering it in winter are the most efficient ways to optimize the temperature inside the home and help you save money on heating and cooling costs. Following these tips for finding the best temperature settings for your home will keep your home comfortable year-round.

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