Should I Turn My Heat Off When I’m Gone?


When you’re at work, school, or otherwise gone for several hours during the day, you may try and reduce energy costs by shutting off your heat. With eight hours of “rest,” you should see a pretty impressive reduction in your energy bills, right? Not necessarily! Our heating repair company in Garner is exploring how you can improve energy efficiency in your home, minimize wear and tear on your system, and keep your home comfortable when you get home.

Adjust the Thermostat 7 to 10 Degrees

If you’re going to be gone for several hours, instead of turning the system completely off, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning your heat down by seven to 10 degrees. They also suggest doing this at night, using blankets to make up the difference in temperature. So, if you keep your heat set on 68, you’ll want to lower it to 58 to 61 degrees, and doing so will make an impressive dent in your heating bill.

Also, this same recommendation applies in hot summer months – if you keep your AC set on 72, raise the temperature to 80 degrees while you’re gone and lower the temp to your preferred setting when you come back.

Why do this rather than shut off the system completely? Some people believe that by turning the system off and allowing the temperature in your home to drop or raise by 15 degrees or more will require your HVAC or furnace to work harder when you come home. While, this is technically true, it isn’t enough to cause your system to wear out faster – it just may take longer to restore your preferred temperature. However, studies show that reducing or raising the thermostat the recommended amount saves as much energy as turning it off completely.

Turning Off Your Heat Can Lead to Expensive Damage

Turning your heat or your air conditioning off may not damage your system, but you may experience “collateral damage.” For example, if your house gets cold during the day and the temperatures are low outside, your pipes may freeze and burst. In summer months, the air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier, reducing moisture in your home – eliminating that for long periods during the day increases moisture in your home, putting you at greater risk for damaged wood flooring and even mold or mildew.

Consider a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to manage your thermostat and ensure you’re saving money when you’re gone and still coming home to a comfortable home is with a smart thermostat. You can connect it to your smartphone which allows you to update the temperature from wherever you are. Before you leave work, you can turn your heat up or lower the air conditioning, so by the time you get home, you’re home is the perfect temperature – no need to shiver or sweat while you wait for your house to get comfortable because you couldn’t change the thermostat until you walked through the door! This is also ideal if you forget to change the temperature until you’re halfway to work, and you want something a bit more user-friendly than a standard programmable thermostat. Plus, it does allow you to turn your air conditioner off during a thunderstorm as lightning can damage your HVAC unit.

Contact Us for Heating Repair and Installation in Garner

If you want to update your heating system to a more energy-efficient unit, or you simply need help installing a smart thermostat, we can help! Give us a call at 919-772-2759 or fill out our contact form below to schedule service or get a free estimate!

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