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10 Tips for the Thermostat: Your Key to Savings

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10 Tips for the Thermostat: Your Key to Savings

Thermostats, where they are located in your home, and how you set them can be the most important factor in determining the size of your fuel bill.

1. When you’ll be out for an evening, turn down the thermostats. If you’ll be away for a weekend or more, lower the thermostats to 55 F. You’ll save on heating without risking a freeze-up of your water pipes.

2. Whenever you can lower your thermostat dramatically for a few days or more, you’ll save a little on the operation of the refrigerator and freezer, which won’t need to work so hard to maintain their cool.

3. How low can your thermostats be set? At our house, we’ve gotten accustomed to 68 F as a comfortable norm. Reduce the heat just 1 degree at a time and try it for a week. Each 1-degree drop for an eight-hour period reduces your fuel bill about one percent. Gradually, you might be able to go down 3 or even 4 degrees comfortably and save a chunk of money.

4. Try turning down the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees at night, and then turn it up again in the morning when the coffee is brewing. If you can get used to that, you’ll save 5 to 10 percent of your heating bill.

Once common myth is that when you reduce the thermostat for only a few hours it will take more heat to bring your home back up to the desired temperature. This is not so. You will save money and fuel because your heating system will not have to keep your home so warm. You will use less energy overall even when you warm up your house from a cooler temperature.

5. For greater ease and comfort, install a programmable set-back thermostat. They are available for most gas- and oil-fueled central heating systems. In this way, you can have the heat turned up before you get up in the morning and lowered just as you get into bed. You may not even notice that you are setting back your thermostat. Most of these thermostats come with two setbacks. Therefore, you can also set back the thermostat for the hours when people are in school or at work.

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Read more: Home, Conservation

Adapted from 547 Ways to be Fuel Smart, by Roger Albright. Copyright (c)2000 by Storey Communications. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from 547 Ways to be Fuel Smart, by Roger Albright.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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547 Ways to Be Fuel smart

The rising costs and shortages of oil, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity are front-page news. Instead of joining the panic, take effective action that will bring your household fuel costs under control with simple projects you can do right now to save now


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7:45AM PDT on May 15, 2015

It is a good idea to lower your thermostat when you're not going to be home. I usually turn it down to about 60 degrees, but if 55 is warm enough that would be even better. Turning down the heat at night would be okay, too. We always sleep with a bunch of blankets anyway, so that is fine with me. I'll have to give that a try.

1:19PM PDT on Mar 26, 2015

I'm really considering getting a programmable thermostat actually. It seems like it would be a good purchase that could save me a lot of money. I wouldn't want to just keep turning down my thermostat. I'm not a cold weather person. Then again, I could just move more south, that's always an option.

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