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While some homeowners have considered turning off their heat at night in an attempt to lower their heating bills, it generally is not recommended as a viable option. The fact is, turning your heat off at night creates more potential risk for your home and your family than it does savings on your energy bill.

What you should know before you turn off the heat:

  • With winter temperatures at freezing and below, turning off the heat for 6 to 8 hours will likely cause the inside temperature of your home to drop below 60 degrees. Such low temperatures can be detrimental to sleep patterns for most people and can be dangerous to infants and the elderly. For the most vulnerable, temperatures should be kept no cooler than 64 degrees.

  • A Northeast Ohio winter can cause temperatures to drop quickly enough overnight to cause your pipes to freeze. In a cold house, pipes will freeze quickly, and frozen pipes can burst and cause significant water damage.

  • The extreme temperature drop that occurs when heat is off will cause your furnace to work harder to bring your house back to a comfortable temperature. This is taxing on your heating system and ultimately costs you more money.

A better way to save money

The best way to lower your heating bill is to keep your thermostat set at the lowest temperature at which your family is comfortable when they are at home. If your lifestyle allows it, consider lowering that temperature by 6 to 8 degrees at night and while the house is empty, such as during work hours and vacations.

The average savings for homeowners who do this is 1% to 3% per degree that they lower the thermostat. For a homeowner who lowers the temperature 8 degrees for 8 hours per day, that savings translates to at least $180 per year. For a house that is reasonably well insulated this works because the lower the interior temperature of your house, the slower your house will lose heat and the less your furnace will have to run.

The biggest obstacles in this practice are waiting for the house to warm up in the morning or upon returning home, and remembering to change the thermostat every day. A programmable thermostat solves these two problems.

A programmable thermostat can be set to change to the desired temperatures at a specified time each day. You can program it to begin heating your home before you wake and before you typically return, so that by the time you wake in the morning or return from work, your house is at the optimum temperature for your comfort.

At A&L Heating & Cooling, we are ready to help you make the change that can save you money. Call today for details about programmable thermostats and how to determine the best setting for yours.

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