Of the biggest electricity-consuming countries worldwide, the United States ranks second.
It’s no surprise though. In 2017 alone, it consumed a whopping 3.82 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh)!
What’s more surprising is that residential consumers take the lead in all this. Of that 3.82 trillion, this sector accounted for 1.38 trillion kWh, or 37.4% of total electricity sales.
So where did all that AC/DC go? The biggest share – at 15.4% – went to cooling (AKA air conditioning). Another 9.5% went to water heating and 6.2% to space heating.
All this shows you how much you’re spending on heating and cooling alone.
This is where the right thermostat temperature setting comes into play. By ensuring you set your thermostat to the right temp, you can bring your electricity bills down.
What exactly is this temp setting though? Will this affect home comfort?
All these and more, we’ll answer in this post, so make sure you keep reading!
Breaking Down Your Home’s Electricity Consumption
There are many ways to cut your electric bill, and having the right thermostat settings is only of them. But for you to start saving, it’s best you know what goes into your bill in the first place. This’ll also help you figure out how much you’ll save every month and in the long run.
Let’s use the average U.S. household energy consumption of 897 kWh every month as an example. Take this and multiply it with the average residential electricity rate (June 2018) of 13.02 cents per kWh.
That product you got – the 116.79 – is how much in dollars the average electric bill is.
So, if 15.4% of this goes to air conditioning, that means you’re paying about $18 a month for cooling alone. $11.10 for water heating, and $7.24 for space heating. That’s a total of $36.34 a month, or a whopping $436.10 every year!
$400 is a lot of money to spend on heating and air conditioning alone. In fact, one in two Americans said they don’t have that kind of money to cover emergency expenses.
That said, wouldn’t it be awesome if you can save 15% on your heating and air conditioning costs? Even 1% can already make a difference! So long as you set the temperature right on the thermostat, that’s the potential range of savings you can get.
Understanding Thermostat Settings
With the right adjustments to your thermostat, you can save at least 10% every year. That’s according to the Department of Energy.
The agency advises turning the thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit from its usual setting. You also need to keep this temp range for eight hours a day.
Let’s say that the normal setting is 75 degrees. Following DOE’s advice, you need to bring the setting down to 65 to 68 degrees (in the winter) or 75 to 83 (in the summer).
The idea is that the closer the indoor temp is to the actual temp outside, the more savings you’ll enjoy.
But let’s face it. If we were to do this, then we’d have to sacrifice comfort. You may even think that this defeats the purpose of having an air conditioner and heater!
This doesn’t have to be the case though. There are ways to avoid compromising your comfort with these thermostat changes. Let’s look at what you can do during the summer and the winter seasons.
The Right Thermostat Temperature in the Summer
During the heatwaves of summer, the recommended house temperature is about 72 degrees. That’s the ideal thermostat setting to maintain indoor comfort. But that won’t help you lower your electric bill.
How do you cut back on your energy consumption then? Well, setting the thermostat even only a degree higher than 72 will already help! This can already save you as much as 3% on your electricity bill.
A good way to avoid feeling uncomfortable is to adjust it one degree at a time. This gradual change can help your body acclimate faster. A 78-degree setting can still provide enough cooling from the hot days of the summer season.
For even greater savings, consider raising the temp higher than 78 degrees. Every notch you go up can save you around 6 to 8% more.
If that’s too warm, then you can limit to doing that only when you’re away from home. A good example is during the work/school week where everyone’s out for more than four hours. Since no one’s at home, then it’s fine to let the temperature go up to 85, even 88 degrees.
If you want the temp to be comfortable as soon as you get home, consider a programmable thermostat. There are even smart thermostats that you can control using your smartphone!
These smart appliances let you make the necessary adjustments while still at work. Once you get home, you’ll find yourself embraced by cooler, more comfortable temperature.
How about During Winter?
The same concept of ‘bring indoor temp as close to outdoor temp as possible’ applies during the winter months. The more similar they are, the more savings you can enjoy.
The same gradual approach can also help your body get used to the change faster. From the usual 72-degree setting, bring it down a notch lower. Keep doing this until you acclimate to a 68-degree setting.
Every time you lower the thermostat one degree below 72, you can save around 1 to 3%. Besides, you can always put on more layers of clothes for warmth. Unlike in the summer, wherein even the thinnest clothes can still make you feel so warm.
Pro Tip: Use your thickest blankets during the winter season! Then, bring the thermostat setting down between 10 and 15 degrees. Keeping this setting for at least eight hours every day can help you slash as much as 5 to 15% off your electric bill.
Start Saving Now with these Thermostat Settings
As you can see, even the smallest changes to your thermostat temperature can be big savers. Plus, the lower your energy consumption, the more beneficial it is for the environment.
So, start making these adjustments now. The sooner you do, the more money you can put away for savings.
Want more insider info on how to make your home more livable while also saving money? If so, then head over to our site’s House and Home Tips section!