clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

How Thermostat Setbacks Save Money

This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey explains how adjusting the thermostat can reduce energy consumption and save you money.

In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey explains how adjusting the thermostat can reduce energy consumption and save you money. Here’s how:

What is Thermostat/Temperature Setback?

Temperature setback is the act of adjusting the thermostat while you’re asleep or away from the house. Lowering the thermostat in winter keeps the house colder, but the furnace doesn’t kick on as often, so you use—and pay for—less energy. In summer, raising the thermostat makes the house warmer but prevents the air-conditioning system from running all day, which lowers your electrical bill.

How Do Thermostat Setbacks Help You Save Money?

Imagine it’s zero degrees outside and the thermostat is set at 70 degrees, which is called the target temperature. If you lower the thermostat to 60 degrees, less heat will transfer to the outside because there’s less of a temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures.

According to the Department of Energy, for every degree you lower the target temperature, you’ll save 1% of fuel over an 8-hour period. In the above example, you would save 10% on your heating bill. The amount of energy it takes to reheat a home will always be less than if you didn’t lower the thermostat and the furnace kicked on and off all day. The same is true in summer with air-conditioning costs.

When to Not Use a Clock Thermostat

Don’t use a clock thermostat with an electric heat pump, super-insulated house, or radiant-heat system.