Tips for Setting the Thermostat
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Carl in Texas on the line who’s got a heating/cooling/insulation question. What can we do for you today?
CARL: Well, we have built a house out at the ranch. It’s a two-story house and in it, we put the spray-foam insulation: walls, ceiling, roof, everything.
CARL: Which, by the way, has been an absolutely wonderful thing. But the builders tried to convince me that it is cheaper to leave the thermostat set where we want it all the time.
TOM: Well, I mean here is what I would do. I wouldn’t – I don’t know what temperature you like leaving the air conditioning at, Carl, but I would suggest that you leave it reasonably high. I’m thinking kind of in the 84-ish area so that it doesn’t get too terribly hot, not turn it off all the way. Because his point is that everything in the house holds heat and when you turn it on, it has to run that much longer to cool everything off and that’s true.
But I wouldn’t turn it off completely; I think it’s a good idea to dehumidify the house, which is what the air conditioner does. But I don’t think you have to leave it down at 78 or anything like that. I think you can have it like 84, 86 so the house doesn’t get too terribly cold and that you will find that it maintains a reasonable temperature. It doesn’t take that long to cool off when you get there.
Will you save money? Maybe. It really depends on how much power that system is using and a lot of other factors in terms of how well-built and insulated your house is. But I do think it’s probably a good idea to leave it on to a high degree when you’re not there.
CARL: OK. That is what I thought and you confirmed it and I appreciate that.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.