03:55AM | 02/11/03
Member Since: 01/23/03
4 lifetime posts
I grew up with central heating, and my parents always turned the heat down while we slept (to 68 F, I think) then back up when we got up in the morning. I have begun to do this in my house, only I extend it to stay cool the entire time we're at work.

My husband says we use more energy to heat the house back up after being that cool than we use to keep the thermostat at 72 or 73 degrees all the time. The temp is turned up for less than 5 hours a day, if we only raise it when we're home in the evening.

I believe that's true for air conditioning, but I don't think it's true for heating. We have hot water baseboard heaters, if it makes any difference, and do not have central air.

1. Which is better - leaving the house at the same temperature all the time in the winter, or turning down the heat when the house is not occupied and raising it only when we're at home?

2. Our only air conditioning is a window unit, and our rental is a two-story house. We put it in our master bedroom (first room at the top of the stairs) and leave it on all the time. Would we saev energy/money if we turn that down while we're out? Is it really best to just let it run all the time? I don't know the BTUs or any of the details on it, except that is is a small-ish unit and does well for one room but probably wouldn't cool off the whole floor.

Thanks in advance for your help!


04:43AM | 02/12/03
I agree that by setting the thermostat at a lower setting saves money because the furnace goes on less often, but wouldn't those savings be cancelled when you turn up the heat when you come back from work, because it takes more energy to heat a house from 65 degrees to 72 degrees than it takes to keep it at 72 degrees constant, over the same period of time. So I would like to know what are we really saving? Thanks.


04:58AM | 02/12/03
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
It really depends on how long you leave it turned down. The longer the "down" period is, the greater likelihood of saving money.
That's because it costs the same amount to bring it up from 68 to 72 after 1 hour as it costs to do the same thing after 6 hours of 68 temp.
So, by using less for an extra 5 hours, you save money.
The only question is, what's the break-even point. How long must the temp be down in order to start saving, when you have to bring it back up?
I don't have any precise numbers to share, but I'm sure somebody has done testing on this.


03:51AM | 02/14/03
Member Since: 01/23/03
4 lifetime posts
This is *exactly* the kind of information I was seeking. Thanks so much!

The furnace doesn't have to work any harder to heat up the house after being cool all day compared to one hour. Overall, turning down the temperature saves money.

The main difference is that if we want a warm house for the hour we are home in the morning between waking and leaving for work, it will take longer to get us warm than it would if the furnace was on all night. But it will get warmer, whether you think it's worth the time and energy or not. So it depends on your patience with that process, I suppose.

A side perk is that turning down the heat means I no longer wake up in the wee sma's with all the covers thrown on top of me because hubby is too hot. When it's cooler in the house, he needs to keep them on him. Bet you didn't know this was also a sleep aid and a marital aid!

Thanks everyone for the great information!


06:51AM | 02/14/03
Member Since: 01/14/03
264 lifetime posts
OK, I've got a question here.

On a cold day, say 20 degrees outside, it will take a certain amount of fuel to keep the inside of a house at a steady 68 degrees, right? Won't it take that same amount of fuel to keep it at a steady 62 degrees if the thermostat isn't changed at all in either case? If that's the case, and you'll use "X" gallons of fuel daily to maintain a temperature, then the only differential in the up/down scenario will be the amount of fuel saved during the cooling from 68 to 62 degrees, and the reheating from 62 to 68 degrees, right?

Or am I missing something here?

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