A myth we’ve heard many times before is that you don’t save any money by turning down the heat in your home when you’re asleep or at work. People tend to believe this is true because they think it takes as much energy to reheat the house as it does to just keep it at a steady temperature. Fortunately for your wallet, that’s just not the case!
In Canada, the weather outside is rarely comfortable. Which is why for most households, around 50% of the house’s energy usage goes towards climate control. All that energy adds up to big costs, so it’s in your best interest to find the right balance between comfort and expense.
On average, for every degree you change the thermostat over an eight hour period, you can expect to see about a 1.5% difference in your overall bill. That means, turning the thermostat up 1 degree for 8 hours during the middle of winter will increase your bill by 1.5%, while turning it down 1 degree for 8 hours will save you 1.5%. And visa versa during summer.
What this all adds up to is, by lowering the temperature in your house by 3-5 degrees during the winter while you’re asleep or at work, you can net big energy savings.
Does it Really Save Energy?
We’re not sure where folks got the idea that maintaining a constant temperature in the house uses the same energy as reducing the temperature significantly and then reheating the home. But we’d like to put an end to it right now.
Consider this: which uses more energy? You lift a carton of milk and keep your arm out straight holding the carton for 5 minutes, or you lift the carton of milk once, put it down, and then lift it up again in 5 minutes. Spoilers: keeping the milk in the air for 5 minutes uses significantly more energy. If you don’t believe us, just try to hold a milk carton in front of you for 5 minutes.
For the record, turning off the lights (no, it does not take a significant amount of energy to turn them back on), turning off your car instead of idling the engine, and unplugging electronics that are not in use also save energy.
How Low Should You Go?
What temperature you set your home to over the winter is going to be up to you and your family’s personal comfort. Families with young children and senior will likely need to keep their home a little warmer, while people who are willing to throw on an extra sweater can reap even more savings. In general, the ideal sleeping temperature for adults is between 16-18°C, so you won’t want to dip much below that point. Toddlers are more comfortable between 18-20°C.
To optimally balance comfort and savings, we recommend setting the thermostat to 18 or 19°C while you’re at home, and reducing it to 14-15°C while everyone is away at work or school. During the night, aim for 15-16C, and make sure any kids have access to heavy blankets to keep them warm.
At the Plumbing Paramedics, we want to help Calgarians save as much money as possible on their energy bill. Turning the heat down while you’re out for the day and while you’re asleep, is one of the easiest ways to do so. To benefit from the most savings, ensure that your furnace filter is changed regularly and have your furnace inspected and maintained annually.
If you suspect your furnace could be running more efficiently than it is, give our team a call! Our experts can inspect your furnace and inform you of any maintenance or repairs you should consider to increase its efficiency. Schedule your furnace inspection with our friendly professionals today.