Managing Your Thermostat – Never Turn It Off!

We are writing this post as a public service announcement.  It is the direct result of something that happened with one of our owners recently.  The owner was moving out of their current home and we had a contract for a renter.  The owner assumed that the move in date was going to happen within a week but in reality, the move  in date was scheduled for 3 weeks later.  (We had told the owner in email and in the contract when the move in date was going to occur)

The owner turned the thermostat off completely.  We have been having 100+ degree days for the past few weeks and the home got incredibly hot.  Mold likes to grow in dark, enclosed spaces with a water source… so guess what happened?  Mold started growing under the sink in the kitchen.  This is going to cost the owner hundreds of dollars for remediation and could have easily been avoided by leaving the thermostat on to keep the house at a reasonable temperature.

So the public service announcement is:
Don’t ever turn off your thermostat completely off, no matter what time of year.  The risks for damage to your home are too great.

Instead, adjust your thermostat appropriately if you are going to leave for any extended period of time.

Finding and setting the optimal temperature on your thermostat takes trial and error.
Taking the time to get it right will save you money!

In the winter set your thermostat no higher than 68 or 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is of course only a guideline. If you have a personal preference to higher temperatures, live in a particularly extreme climate or have a medical condition, adjust accordingly.

In the summer or warmer months, we recommend you set your thermostat no lower than 73 – 78 degrees.

Remember, little adjustments in temperature really do make a difference! For example, lowering the temperature by one single degree in the winter has the potential to save you about 3% on your heating bill! And lowering the temperature from 70 to 64 for 8 hours a day in the winter can potentially save you around 10% on your heating bill!

We highly recommend a programmable thermostat.  You can easily program these thermostats to adjust the temperature automatically for the hours you are away at work. No one is home, so the thermostat doesn’t need to maintain a higher or lower temperature.  It can then kick back prior to you getting home so that when you walk in the door you feel comfortable.

If you go on vacations, make sure to take into account the fact that no one will be around. Again, don’t ever shut off the thermostat entirely!

Turning down the thermostat too low in the winter can actually make your furnace work harder and increase your costs since the house and furniture in it will need to be reheated as well as the air. Additionally, turning down the temperature too low may allow the water pipes in your home to freeze.  An incredible amount of damage can be done if your pipes freeze, so saving a few dollars in a given month is not worth the risk.

If you have any advice or suggestions related to managing the thermostat in your home, please comment!  We would love to hear from you.