The most efficient thermostat setting for your heater this winter

Security Equipment

Want to lower your winter energy bills? Then you'll want to turn the thermostat to a more energy efficient temperature setting.

But, what is this magic setting? Well, it's not set in stone.

The most efficient temperature setting is the lowest setting your family can be comfortable at. 

Also, it depends on if you're awake or at home.

Here's a process to help you find the most energy efficient settings that work for your family at any time of the day.

Step 1. Find your temperature baseline

You need to start by finding a good baseline temperature you can live with. This will likely be anywhere from 62-71° F. One study seems to indicate that the colder climate you live in, the lower indoor temperature you’re comfortable with.

If you want to save money, you want to push your boundaries here a little bit. Try this:

  1. Set your home’s temperature where you know your whole family is comfortable (maybe 70° F)
  2. Encourage family members to start wearing warmer clothes—long sleeves, socks, etc.—when at home
  3. Each day, turn down the thermostat 1 degree.
  4. When someone complains about being too cold, stop there or go back up a degree. 

Step 2. Lower your thermostat when your home is empty

Unless you’re a hermit, your home is likely empty for long periods of time—like when you go to work. Don’t pay to heat an empty home!

Whenever you’re home is empty for 8 hours or longer, lower the temperature on your thermostat. recommends dropping the temperature by 10-15° F. 

This will save you money because your heater won’t have to run as long during the day.

Be careful, though. Temperatures below 55° F could leave you vulnerable to frozen pipes. In addition, colder indoor temperatures can lead to condensation that can damage your furnishings and appliances.

Step 3. Lower your thermostat when you go to bed

Next, have your thermostat drop the temperature a few degrees when you go to sleep. Not only will this save you some money, science shows that it can also help you sleep better.

The Huffington post reports that “most studies agree that a temperature between 60 and 67° F is optimal for sleeping”.

Step 4. Get a programmable thermostat

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, buy one. It’ll make your efficiency savings automatic. 

Programmable thermostats change your temperature setting based on a schedule. There are several different types of programmable thermostats, make sure you get the one that will work for your normal daily routine:

  • 5+2-day models—The least flexible. Basically, you have 2 different schedules, one for weekdays and one for the weekend. If your routine is very consistent every day, this is all you need.
  • 5-1-1-day models—Basically the same as the 5+2-day models except that you have individual schedules for Saturday and Sunday.
  • 7-day models—Set a unique schedule for every day of the week. 
  • Smart models—Thermostats like the Nest, Lyric and Ecobee are the most flexible. They let you set your temperature from your phone wherever you are. Choose this option if your schedule is especially erratic or unpredictable.

Altogether now: an example schedule

So now your thermostat schedule should look like the following, where x is your home’s ideal temperature from step 1.

  • 6:30 am — Wakeup: x
  • 7:30 am — Leave for work: x-15° F
  • 5:00 pm — Leave for home: x 
  • 10:00 pm — Go to bed: x-5° F

Make sure to adjust this for your weekend schedule, as well.

Tip: Set your thermostat to start increasing the temperature before you get home from work and wake up so that it’s nice and comfortable by the time you’re home and awake.

Tie your thermostat into your security system for even more control

You can integrate your thermostat’s schedule into your security system so you can save money without even thinking about it.

For example, a simple “Away” scene could automatically change your thermostat, arm your security system—and more—with one touch of a button!

Recent articles and publications on home security