What Temperature Should You Set for Your Furnace This Winter?

Furnace Temperature in Concord, NC

You may not be able to control the weather outside, but you want to know how to reign in your utility costs. With this goal in mind comes the question of the ideal temperature to set your thermostat for the winter. Here is info on how to think through which temperature is right for your home and the other considerations to reduce your utility expenses.

Understanding Heating Compared to Outside Temperature

Before delving into the exact temperature you should set your thermostat at for the winter, it’s important to understand some mechanics behind heating. Your furnace operates by raising the temperature of the air cycling through it. Every furnace has a range of anywhere from 25 degrees up to a maximum of about 80 degrees. Once the air is heated in the furnace, it should be within this range. Then it travels out to the vents.

Generally speaking, the colder the air is outside and the more wind that comes with the temperature, the harder your system works to maintain your set temperature inside. This is a general rule of thumb but is greatly dependent on how well your home is sealed and the quality of your insulation.

The better insulated and sealed your home, the easier it is for it to maintain a higher temperature. However, you may not need to have a higher temperature to stay comfortable because you have less energy loss.

Temperature Recommended by EPA

The EPA considers the environmental impact of your heating, including the amount of fuel consumed and the implications of producing that fuel. They recommend an average temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter. The thought is this is a temperature that is low enough to consume a reasonable amount of fuel but warm enough to be moderately comfortable for most people.

Improving Your System’s Performance

You can help your furnace perform better with some simple improvements. First, have an energy audit of your home and look for where you’re leaking heat. This may lead to improving your insulation or sealing up leaks. Next, have your ducts sealed and insulated to reduce the heat loss between your furnace and the rooms where the heat comes out.

These two items mean that a 68-degree setting is easier for your furnace to achieve and will feel more comfortable. It will also reduce your heating cycle length and frequency, saving on your energy bills.

Why Using Programs Is Important

The EPA’s recommended 68 degrees is an average setting, but you may be comfortable with the thermostat set lower or higher. For example, some people may be more comfortable at 72 degrees and don’t mind paying more for their heating.

Regardless of your ideal temperature, use your thermostat’s program feature to turn down the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees while you’re not at home. For most people, this is a period of anywhere from eight to 12 hours or more a day. This reduces the energy consumed by up to about 10% and means you can keep a slightly higher temperature during the hours you are home and still possibly realize cost savings.

Reducing System Strain Using Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are incredibly important over the winter for keeping warm air at the level you’ll enjoy it. Hot air rises, so it will naturally collect at the ceiling. Your ceiling fan should run in a clockwise direction over the winter. With the fans set in this direction, run them on low. This will create a gentle updraft that will push the air collecting on the ceiling out to the walls and down to the floors of your room.

Keeping Your System Working Efficiently

Even at 68 degrees, you may notice that you’re consuming more energy this year than last year. This is a key sign that your system isn’t running efficiently. The two primary causes for year-over-year efficiency reduction are either a clogged air filter or an unmaintained system. Be sure to change your air filter about every 90 days, and get professional furnace maintenance to clear out internal airflow restrictions that quickly erode your system’s efficiency.

All Temp Co., Inc Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing, & Electrical has been the trusted name in heating and cooling around Concord since 1983. Our team of NATE-certified technicians provides heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair, as well as a full range of indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your furnace maintenance with one of our dependable technicians today.