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3 Dumb Things You Do With Your Thermostat That Cost You Money

Did you know that certain thermostat settings can cost you more money than necessary?

To help maximize your energy savings, in this blog we’ll look at 3 common mistakes people make with their thermostats, including:

  1. Trying to heat or cool your home “faster”
  2. Leaving your thermostat on the same setting
  3. Changing your thermostat too often

Small changes can lead to big savings and the best part is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort!

Ready to start saving? Let’s get into it.

Prefer to speak with a professional about your thermostat settings? Contact MSP. We’ve been in business for more than 100 years and have a team of trustworthy, expert technicians at the ready. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call today: (651) 228-9200.

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Mistake #1: Trying to heat or cool your home “faster”

Setting your thermostat above or below your desired temperature in hopes that your home will heat or cool “faster” can actually cost you more money — without actually speeding up the process.

For example, let’s say you return home to a stifling warm house. It’s 86 degrees and you want it to cool down to 72. However, you’re uncomfortable and in a hurry, so you set the thermostat to 68 hoping the AC will cool your home faster.

This is a false assumption.

By setting the temperature to 68, your AC will end up having to run longer to hit that desired temperature, costing you more money to cool your home.

The same is true for heating.

To avoid paying more, don’t set your thermostat beyond your truly desired temperature.

Note: If you find yourself waiting a long time to heat or cool your home, it’s possible you may need routine maintenance on your systems. A quick check-up or small repair will maximize your energy efficiency and save you on monthly utilities.

Mistake #2: Leaving your thermostat on the same setting

For convenience, some people like to “set it and forget it” with their thermostat. But this can cost you quite a bit of money.

Here’s why:

If you leave for more than 8 hours at a time but your thermostat is set to the same temperature, you’ll be paying to heat or cool an empty house. Now take that 8-hour timeframe and multiply it by how many days you’re gone per month. For some people, that’s more than 20 days or 160 hours!

Because utilities are charged per hour, that’s 160 hours of unnecessary use that you could have otherwise been saving. Each month.

Granted, some people don’t like returning to a freezing cold or super hot home. So, rather than turning your system off, try this 2-step approach to maximize your comfort and energy savings:

Step 1: When your home will be empty for 8 hours or longer, set your thermostat 7-10 degrees higher in the summer or 7-10 degrees lower in the winter.

Step 2: When you get home, set the thermostat back to a comfortable setting.

In fact, according to the US Department of Energy , by practicing this 2-step approach, homeowners can save up to 10% of their annual energy costs!

Helpful tip: Investing in a programmable thermostat can save you money because if you can program your settings based upon a set schedule, you won’t ever have to think about adjusting the temperature. Moreover, an Energy Star certified “smart thermostat” can automatically adjust temperature settings in your home for optimal performance.

To learn more, visit our programmable thermostat installations page.

Mistake #3: Changing your thermostat too often

If you micromanage your thermostat settings, you’ll eat up more energy, which will cost you more money.

For example, let’s say that the temperature inside your home is 68 degrees, but you want it to be 70 degrees. Your furnace will kick on, but since the temperature difference is only a couple of degrees, it won’t take very long to shut back off.

Then, let’s say that you’re not happy and want it to be a degree warmer so you set your thermostat to 71. Your furnace will have to kick back on, heat one more degree, and then shut back off.

Now, let’s say someone else in your house thinks it’s too hot, so they turn the heat back down to 68 a few minutes later. But then you realize it’s too cold, so you repeat the thermostat increase.

Throughout this time, your furnace will have to work to kick on and off. The startup process for a furnace consumes more energy than simply running the entire time at one set temperature, costing you additional money.

To maximize efficiency, it’s best to keep your furnace (or AC) at the same consistent temperature for long periods of time.


To sum up our advice:

  1. Set your thermostat only to the actual temperature you want.
  2. Set it back by 7-10 degrees when you’re not home.
  3. Try not to micromanage the settings.

If you can do these three things, you’ll stop wasting energy and start earning back savings.

Want money-saving advice about your thermostat settings? MSP can help!

Our professional and courteous technicians are available for same-day service and honest recommendations. For more than 100 years, we’ve helped Minnesota homeowners with all of their home cooling and heating. Give us a call (651) 228-9200 or schedule an appointment online today.

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