Does Holding Off Turning Your Heat on For the Season Save Money?
Mainers are a frugal bunch who will look for any way to save a buck, especially when it comes to heating our homes. It's nice to not have the fuel bill during the summer, and we dread having to turn the heat back on and wait for the bill to rack up. So what do we do? We wait until the magical date of November 1 to turn the heat on. But is this actually saving any money while we sit in a colder than we'd like house?
News Center Maine Meteorologist and writer of attack ads, Keith Carson weighed in on the subject on Twitter. Now before you go saying "He's a meteorologist, not a furnace tech," think about it for a second. Meteorology is defined as "a science that deals with the atmosphere and its phenomena." The atmosphere is what's making your house cold. I think he knows what he's talking about.
So it looks like you might save a penny or two, literally. If you want to save money heating your home, there's a better way.
According to energy.gov, "You can save as much as 10% a year on heating by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting." $120 a year is a decent savings, and if you're like me, you sleep better in a cool room anyway.
I know some of you are saying that keeping your home at a constant temperature and not messing with the thermostat is the best way to save you money. Not true in most cases according to Max Sherman, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in an Chicago Tribune article from 2014. The less the furnace runs, the more you save and the time it takes in the morning to get back up is less than if it stays constant.
Personally I would recommend getting a smart thermostat like Google Nest. It can recognize your heating patterns and create an energy efficient schedule for your thermostat. It even knows when the house is empty and can bring the temperature down until you return. We bought one a year ago. It was easy to install and it works like a champ.
So if you're trying to save some money on your heating bill, go ahead and turn on the heat if you're cold and turn it down while you sleep and when you're away. Give it a try this season and see if you notice a difference.