Wintertime is here, which means using your furnace to heat your home is a must, right? Well, not always. When you have a mild winter like in our area of northern Georgia, your heating needs will be different. How so? Here is what you need to know when, unlike the Christmas carol, the weather outside isn’t frightful.
A mild winter can make it feel like it isn’t even cold enough outside to turn your furnace on, and that makes it challenging to know what range of temperatures to set your thermostat to. According to Energy.gov, the best temperature setting in the wintertime is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. “You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home,” their site says.
While you can set your thermostat lower than that, especially to save money on your heating bill, avoid going lower than 50 degrees. Also, avoid turning off your HVAC system altogether. It is best to run it minimally to avoid excess cold in your home that could lead to frozen pipes and expensive damage.
Because of temperature fluctuations and the different heating and cooling needs you may have throughout any given day, a good solution is to use a programmable thermostat to set your preferred temperature settings. By watching weather forecasts, you will know what temperatures to expect and can set the thermostat to meet your needs automatically.
Programmable thermostats are also a great way to save money on your energy bill. For example, if you are out of the house all day, you don’t need to have the furnace running and keeping an empty house at peak warmth while you are gone. With a programmable thermostat, your bills will be lower because you are programming the thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically and run minimally while you are gone. Another perk is you don’t have to remember to change the temperature before leaving, and you can also schedule the system to start warming up the house before you get home.
Another mild wintertime tip is to consider using a space heater. Some of the benefits are that space heaters are portable, so you can move it around your house wherever needed and warm yourself up in whatever room you’re in. They can also lower your energy bill. However, be sure to use the space heater safely. Many models have safety features, such as shutting off automatically if the space heater gets tipped over. Leave plenty of space around the space heater, so nothing gets too close to it and risks a fire. It should sit on a hard, non-flammable surface. It should not be near water and should be plugged directly into the wall outlet instead of using an extension cord. You shouldn’t leave it running or plugged in if you leave the room. You can also purchase one with a programmable timer to automatically turn on and off.
If you keep the furnace temperature low during a mild winter, you can always dress in layers or use blankets to keep warm. It is also a good idea to seal air leaks in your home during this time of the year and to have your furnace inspected and cleaned to ensure it operates properly and efficiently.
Keep these tips in mind as we face another mild winter in northern Georgia, and you’ll be good to go. Contact Stiles Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing with any questions you have about using your thermostat and furnace during a mild winter. You can also schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment.