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What Is The Best Thermostat Setting For Winter?

What Is The Best Thermostat Setting for Winter?

Posted: October 5, 2020

It could be a tempting idea during the winter to take the strain off your furnace or boiler by dropping temperatures quite a bit at night to save money on heat. Or you may think about turning off your heating system when you’re away from home or if you own a vacation home that sits empty in the winter.

But the truth is, these are not good ideas. We wouldn’t ever recommend having the temperatures in your home fall much below 60°F – a temperature that can strike a good balance between conserving energy and preventing costly problems.

To achieve an optimum balance of comfort and savings, the U.S Department of Energy suggests the following temperature settings for your home thermostat during the cold weather months:

  • When you’re home and awake, set the thermostat for 68°F.
  • Lower temperatures by 10° for the hours you’re asleep or out of the house.

Problem 1: Frozen Pipes

When the temperature inside your house drops too low, the risk for frozen pipes goes up a lot.

Most bathroom and kitchen pipes are not insulated, so they rely on your home heating system to keep them warm. Without adequate exposure to heat, these pipes can freeze and eventually burst, causing severe water and structural damage that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. There are countless stories of people returning from a winter vacation only to find a water pipe had burst and flooded their home.

Here are some tips to help you avoid this serious problem.

  • Leave your thermostat setting no lower than 60° F if you plan to be away from home in winter—we suggest keeping it even higher if temperatures are forecasted to be especially frigid when your home is vacant.
  • Have a neighbor or friend check your house when you’re away to head off problems.
  • Plug or caulk holes that allow water lines to be exposed to cold air.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors where water pipes are located, allowing heat to enter.
  • Check in and around your home for water lines in colder or unheated areas. Insulate both cold and hot water lines in areas such as your garage, crawl spaces and your attic. Consider a heated cable or electric heat tape if the area remains cold and can’t be easily warmed up.

If the cold weather is sustained or severe, allow a small trickle of warm and cold water through the faucet.

Problem 2: Condensation Damage

A second problem with setting the temperature too low is a buildup of condensation inside your home. Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface; the cooler the air in your home is, the less moisture it can hold.

A buildup of condensation can damage your wood floors, furniture, and electronic equipment, so it’s definitely something you want to avoid.

Use A Programmable Thermostat

An easy way to avoid problems is to install a smart programmable thermostat, which will help you keep temperatures low while you’re away and higher while you’re home. Why waste time adjusting your thermostat every day? Plus, you can monitor your home’s temperature anytime, from anywhere.

Read more about smart thermostats.

Stay warm all winter long with reliable heating oil and propane deliveries and expert heating equipment repairs and maintenance service from your friends at Wilson Oil and Propane. We’re the People You Can Trust in the Delaware Valley, including the towns of Media, Wallingford, Swarthmore, Springfield, Broomall and Newtown Square.