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

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

Heating and cooling your home makes up almost 50% of your yearly energy bills. So if you are looking for ways to cut energy use, that’s the best place to start.

So what’s the easiest way to cut energy use?

Stop doing things with your thermostat that waste energy. 

Here are 3 of them.

Trying to heat or cool your home “faster”

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You get home from work and your home is hot. The home’s at 79°, and you like it at 75°F. But you set the thermostat to 72°, so that it will cool off your home more quickly.

Bad idea.

This doesn’t make your air conditioner work faster. Unless you have a two-stage AC, your air conditioner (and furnace) only works at one speed. Lowering the temperature setting past what you need just makes the air conditioner run longer to reach the 72° setting (costing you money).

Leaving your thermostat at the same setting

Do you set your thermostat at a specific temperature and never touch it? You could be wasting as much as $180/year, according to ENERGY STAR

Instead, you should change your thermostat temperature setting whenever you leave your home for 8 hours or longer. After all, there’s no need to heat or cool your empty home to the same temperature as when you’re home, right?

Do this:

  • When your home will be empty for 8 hours or longer, set your thermostat 5°-8° higher in the summer and 10°-15° lower in the winter.
  • When you get home, set the thermostat back to your comfortable setting.

Doing so can save you 5-15% on your yearly energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy

Of course, remembering to change your thermostat every time you leave your home can be difficult. That’s where a programmable thermostat comes in. Programmable thermostats can be set to your schedule so that it automatically makes these adjustments for you.

Messing with your thermostat too much

A study about the effectiveness of programmable thermostats found that people who micromanage their thermostats use more energy than those that leave them alone for long periods of time. 


Because constantly changing the set temperature on your thermostat causes your air conditioner and furnace to stop and start, which causes them to run inefficiently.
For example, let’s say you have your thermostat set at 68°F in the winter. Your furnace heats your home until that point then shuts off. But you realize you’re still a little chilly, so you raise the thermostat a couple degrees. The furnace must now immediately turn back on.

Your furnace and AC should be running for longer, steadier times to save money. (Think of it like your car’s MPG. Do you get better mileage on streets with lots of stoplights or on the highway?)

In summary

So remember these 3 things to help you save money on your heating and cooling bills:

  • Don’t crank your thermostat up or down to heat or cool your home faster—it does not work.
  • Change your thermostat temperature setting when you’re away from home for 8+ hours.
  • Don’t constantly change the thermostat setting when you’re home—it wastes money.

Need help with your thermostat or heating or air conditioning system in the Twin Cities area? MSP Plumbing, Heating & Air can help. Contact us online for more information.

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