Heating costs this winter are ridiculously high, so we're all trying to find ways to help save some money on that bill. There's great debate among New Englanders about just how legitimate one method of trying to save money is.

I have a Google Nest Thermostat to help with our heating bill. It knows when we are not home, and will lower the thermostat so that the furnace doesn't heat an empty house. It also lowers the thermostat when we are asleep.

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Several people have told me that it doesn't work because your furnace has to run longer and burn more fuel to get it back up to temperature.

According to MSP Plumbing Heating and Air, it's recommended that you set your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower when you will be gone for 8 hours or more which could save you 5 to 15% more on your heating costs. 15 percent! That's a saving of over $100 on my last bill.

They also say that adjusting that thermostat constantly isn't doing you any favors. It causes your furnace to stop and start, which makes it run inefficiently. They use a perfect example to explain why:

"Let’s say you have your thermostat set at 68°F in the winter. Your furnace heats your home until that point and then shuts off. But you realize you’re still a little chilly, so you raise the thermostat a couple degrees. The furnace must now immediately turn back on. Your furnace...should be running for longer, steadier times to save money. (Think of it like your car’s MPG. Do you get better mileage on streets with lots of stoplights or on the highway?)"

So it seems to be legit. If you want to save a bit on that heating bill, turn that thermostat down when you're not home.

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