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- By James Wisler
- HVAC GUIDES
When fall comes to Virginia, it brings relief from the oppressive temperatures of summer. But even in cooler temperatures, it can be difficult to find a comfortable thermostat setting that accounts for fluctuations between day and night and potentially wild swings in the weather from day to day.
Finding the ideal thermostat setting for fall means you don’t have to feel hot and uncomfortable (or shivering under the covers). Our comprehensive guide to indoor temperatures can help you achieve maximum energy efficiency while keeping your home comfortable all season long. We are Roanoke’s air conditioning repair service and you can rely on our suggestions to save you money, no matter the type of heating system or thermostat you have.
Why Ideal Thermostat Setting Matter?
If you wake up in the morning and it’s cold in your house, you might want to turn up the heat to warm it up as you get ready for the day. Then when you get home, you walk into an overheated house and turn on the air conditioning to cool down.
In either case, constantly adjusting the thermostat, especially at both ends, is not the most energy efficient method of controlling indoor temperature. This approach actually increases energy costs because the HVAC system has to work harder to reach the desired temperature. Instead, keeping the indoor temperature closer to the outdoor temperature can save you up to 5% on your energy costs while maintaining a pleasant, comfortable environment.
Keeping your thermostat setting within a few degrees of the outside temperature also helps reduce wear and tear on HVAC equipment. Air conditioning settings that are too cold, for example when the outside temperature is milder, can cause the unit’s coils to freeze. Additional stress on the HVAC system can lead to mechanical failure or even premature failure. Therefore, it is important to maintain a constant temperature.
Finding the Magic Number
If maintaining a consistent temperature setting is important, what is the ideal thermostat setting for fall?
For most households, keeping the thermostat at a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit is the most comfortable and energy efficient option. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends 68 degrees as the ideal indoor temperature in the winter (the agency suggests 78 degrees in the summer), but 68 degrees is also ideal for fall in Virginia. Neither too hot nor too cold, 68 degrees is usually just a few degrees below the outside temperature and the HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.
If your family is away from home most of the day, you can set the thermostat a few degrees lower. The indoor temperature is likely to rise throughout the day as the sun shines through the windows. Even if the heat is turned off or very low, your house will still be warm when you get home.
Use Programmable Thermostats
Using a programmable or smart thermostat can help you maintain a consistent and comfortable indoor temperature throughout all seasons. Instead of manually adjusting the temperature up or down, you can use a programmable device to adjust temperatures to fit your normal schedule and lifestyle. A smart thermostat goes one step further and can actually learn your preferences and habits and automatically adjust the settings for you.
With a smart or programmable thermostat, consistency is key to energy efficiency. In other words, once you’ve determined the ideal thermostat setting for fall, it’s best to avoid adjustments. The device controls the HVAC system day and night based on your desired temperature, so you don’t have to.
To get the most out of a programmable thermostat this fall, adjust the settings so the heat only comes on when your family is home. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 60 degrees during the day when no one is home. You can set the heater to turn on before everyone gets home from work or school so your home is warm when everyone arrives.
Lowering the temperature a few degrees while you sleep can also reduce your energy costs. This means you can maintain a constant, comfortable temperature even on a cold autumn evening.
Stay Comfortable Throughout the Season
Some people consider 68 degrees to be anything but the ideal thermostat setting for fall. Some Southerners find it too low and worry that their home will be cold. If you’re used to the heat and humidity of a Virginia summer, a 25 to 30 degree change in temperature is less of a concern.
As mentioned above, the thermostat’s constant temperature at 68 degrees ensures that the indoor temperature is approximately the same as the outdoor temperature. This constant temperature reduces the load on your HVAC equipment and energy costs while keeping humidity under control. The warmer the inside of your home, the more humid it becomes and the more likely you are to have problems with air quality and HVAC equipment.
The Roanoke region’s mild climate means that, in most cases, residents don’t need to turn up the heat often in the fall. If you’re cold on a cool fall day, try another way to warm up before turning up the heat. Here are some ways to feel good:
- Dress in layers. Add or remove layers as needed to feel comfortable.
- Use a throw blanket to stay warm while reading or watching TV.
- Enjoy a warm beverage.
- Invest in cozy slippers to keep your feet warm.
- Open the curtains or blinds to allow the sun to warm your home.
For those used to warmer temperatures, 68 degrees may seem cool at first, but most people quickly adjust.
Maintain Your Heating System for Energy Efficiency
While choosing the ideal thermostat setting for fall is a great way to control your energy costs, if your furnace system isn’t working properly or the thermostat isn’t working properly, you’ll have a hard time maintaining a comfortable temperature. Fall is the perfect time to schedule furnace maintenance. Professional inspection and maintenance will ensure that your heating system is in good working order and you are unlikely to have any problems staying warm as winter approaches.
During a furnace maintenance visit, a technician will thoroughly inspect the furnace, clean and lubricate the mechanical parts, and check to see if anything is of concern. The maintenance visit also includes checking the thermostat. To function properly, the thermostat must be clean and accurately calibrated. For example, if dust covers the sensors or the connections are not secure, the thermostat will provide inaccurate temperature readings.
Scheduling boiler maintenance will ensure your family stays comfortable and prevents avoidable breakdowns during the heating season.
Is Your Thermostat in the Right Place?
A poorly placed thermostat is a common problem homeowners face when trying to set a comfortable indoor temperature. If you install a thermostat in the wrong location, such as directly in front of a south-facing window, it won’t be able to accurately measure the indoor temperature. This location makes it difficult for the heating and cooling system to reach the desired temperature.
If your home is consistently warmer or colder than the thermostat setting, moving the thermostat may be the best solution. A professional HVAC technician can evaluate the unit’s current location and suggest alternatives to improve efficiency and keep your home’s temperature where you want it.
Call Wisler Plumbing & Air for Help with All Your Thermostat Needs
If you need help determining the ideal thermostat setting for fall, installing a new thermostat, or repairing a thermostat, call our team at Wisler Plumbing & Air. We have experience with all types of heating systems and can help you choose the ideal thermostat to save you money. We can install programmable, non-programmable and smart thermostats and ensure they work perfectly so you can get the most out of your heating and cooling systems.
Wisler Plumbing & Air is the first choice for homeowners in Roanoke and Virginia for quality HVAC services, including installation, maintenance and repairs. We back our work with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee and take our responsibility to keep your family warm seriously. If you are dissatisfied with our work, we will do everything we can to make things right.
You can count on our Wisler Plumbing & Air team to provide service whenever you need it. We offer HVAC emergency service, convenient scheduling, and competitive financing. Our certified technicians provide fast, friendly and reliable service. So make us your trusted source for all your heating and cooling needs.
If you would like to learn more about the ideal thermostat setting for fall or need help with your heating system, make an appointment. Call us today at 540-483-9382 or use our online reservation tool.