Admin on May 27, 2015 0 Comments As a homeowner, you are probably in search of ways to reduce your expenses without sacrificing any of the comforts of home. One easily overlooked component that can help you to save a great deal of money in your home is the thermostat. The thermostat is the device that you use to regulate the temperature inside of your home. You can lower and raise the temperature at will to increase the comfort of your environment. The following eight tips are all designed to help you make better use of your thermostat with the goal to saving money, no matter what season it is. Tips for Summer Heat During the summertime, especially on sweltering hot days, a cool room can feel like a lifesaver. When you’re constantly running your air conditioner, you’ll probably notice your utility bill go through the roof. The average homeowner spends an astounding $600 on air conditioning each year. The following three tips will help you to stay cool while saving money during those hot summer months. 1. Turn it Up Try turning your thermostat up one or two degrees. Chances are you probably won’t notice much, especially at night. During nighttime hours you don’t need the same amount of air to feel cool. For each degree the thermostat is set to above 72 degrees, you’ll save 1-3% on your energy bill. So while you might not notice a difference, your wallet will. 2. Smaller is Better Many people waste money and energy using the central air conditioner and cool the entire house, including empty rooms. Try using a portable or window air conditioner which can spot cool the room you are in. Many of the portable and window air conditioners come with programmable thermostats which give you even more control in finding the right temperature. Even if you have central air conditioning, it can be cost effective and energy efficient to invest in a separate unit that can be placed in the busiest room of the home or easily moved around. 3. Use a Fan After pumping cool air into the room, a fan can help circulate the air and you won’t need to turn the thermostat down as low. When used in conjunction with an air conditioner, a ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat by 4 degrees while maintaining the same level of comfort. Ceiling, floor, mounted, and table fans are all cost and energy efficient alternative options that can make you feel anywhere from 3-8 degrees cooler. Tips for Winter Chill Just a few short months after the scorching heat, the temperature may drop below freezing, depending on where you live. In some places this brings ice and snow, so you’ll likely want to blast the heat indoors. This doesn’t mean that you can’t keep saving money using your thermostat, though. The next three tips are helpful for when it gets to be a bit frigid outside. 4. Turn it Down Try to get everyone in your home accustomed to sleeping with the thermostat set to 68° or lower. Cooler temperatures can also improve the quality of sleep you get at night. If you must turn the heat up, do so in the morning when everyone is up and about. The less amount of time you need to heat your home, the less energy you will need to use and pay for. An important exception to this rule is when the weather is actually freezing. When there is a chance of a freeze in your area, you should set your thermostat so that it is at least 72 degrees to help prevent your pipes from bursting. 5. Seal Leaks If you notice that it is hard for you to regulate the temperature inside of your home, get an inspection for leaks. Inspect the baseboards, windows, doorways and other openings to ensure that air is not escaping from the inside of your home. Leaks and openings in your home increase the amount of thermal energy that is lost to the outside, resulting in the need to turn the thermostat up to overcompensate. Make sure that all leaks in your home are properly sealed to reduce the need to keep your thermostat set at a higher temperature. 6. Use Drapes To keep more heat inside of the home and reduce your urge to touch your thermostat, add drapes, curtains or window treatments to your windows to keep more heat in and cold air out. You could also open the window treatments to allow the heat from the sun in or close them to keep the heat from the sun out, depending on the season and your current comfort level. All Year Long Tips The final few tips are things you can do to save money all year long. Maintaining clean filters and using a programmable thermostat in the summer and winter months will help keep cooling and heating costs down: 7. Filter Maintenance When the filters are dirty and clogged, the efficiency of your unit is reduced. Make it a habit to regularly inspect, clean or replace your filters every few months to reduce the amount of work and energy it has to use when you need it. 8. Programmable Thermostats Believe it or not, it takes more time and energy to use a regular thermostat than it does to use a programmable one. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat, and you’ll find that you can program it to heat and cool your home efficiently even while you are away. If you are not going to be home for several days, you can program your thermostat in advance to keep the temperatures in your home low until right before you return. Final Note Take some time to research your options when shopping for a portable air conditioner or a programmable thermostat. Weigh the pros and cons of each one and consider your lifestyle before selecting one. If you have an electrical system, consider purchasing individual thermostats for each room. If you use one thermostat to regulate the temperature for a large area of your home, consider purchasing a setback thermostat. For peak operation, you must be careful where you install your programmable thermostat. Avoid placing it in areas where it will be exposed to drafts, sunlight and moisture to prevent your system from cycling on prematurely. Read the manual and learn how to operate your new thermostat. Programmable thermostats require an investment of time initially, but once you have gotten the hang of how to program it, you can set it days and weeks in advance and forget about it.