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Old 12-12-2013, 09:41 PM   #1
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I'm not a HVAC professional

Would I really save money lowering my thermostat and why???

Let's say I leave home and head for Florida in February and set my thermostat at 60 degrees. If the temperature outside remains below 55 degrees, does it matter if I had set my thermostat at 70 degrees instead of 60 degrees?

Here's the scary logic. Seems to me that when it's set at 70 the furnace will come on at around 68 and will shut off at 70 or 71. If it's set at 60 degrees, the furnace will come on at around 58 and shut off at 60 or 61. Seems to me that the furnace is heating 2 or 3 degrees of heat in each of these scenarios.

Shoot me down if you must.

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Old 12-12-2013, 10:19 PM   #2
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Setting a t'stat lower will always save energy. The amount of energy required is basically a function of the difference between the outdoor and indoor temp. The higher the indoor temp., the more energy required. This might help explain:


Also, thermostats have something called a heat anticipator. It is designed to shut the heating appliance off a little earlier than the thermostat actually senses. Normally, you want the temp. to be maintained within a certain band so that you don't get wild fluctuations. This has nothing to do with the amount of energy used to heat a space.



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Old 12-12-2013, 10:59 PM   #3
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Good question, PaPaw! The savings is real and here's the simple logic as to "how". For the sake of discussion, let's say that a base assumption is that in both scenarios the outdoor temperature (OAT) is the same… let's say 40 degrees F. Your furnace (or whatever energy source) must heat your interior space from 40 degrees to 60 degrees, which represents a 20 degree delta (difference). In the second scenario at 70 degrees the furnace must heat to a 30 degree delta.

In both scenarios you are supplying the same amount of energy (BTU's) to raise the OAT from 40 degrees to the thermost60 degree thermostat set point. But the additional 10 degrees in the second scenario is where the savings is realized. That additional 10 degrees requires a constant additional amount of BTU's to maintain the extra 10 degrees of interior air temperature.

Think of it this way… the larger the delta, the more total energy is required to maintain that higher set point. The larger the delta… the greater the heat loss factor. This is a basic energy law that can't be broken. And here's a factual tidbit to consider as well… "heat always travels from hot to cold" Unless you have gaps or openings, the cold doesn't really "travel inside", the heat always travels outside through insulation, metal, fiberglass… all materials… always.

Hope this helps to better understand if you're saving, and why.

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Old 12-13-2013, 07:12 AM   #4
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Lower temps INSIDE mean slower heat loss.

Now my training is in electronics but plumbing and electricity and HEAT all have a few things in common.

Take a garden hose and a Watts Adjustable Pressure Regulator and a nozzle of some kind (Smaller opening) or a water saver washer (Very small hole)..

Set the regulator to say 20 PSI (think of this like 20 degrees delta between inside and outside) and see how long it takes to fill up a five gallon pail.

Now set the regulator to 30 PSI and do it again (30 degrees)

You will find the pail fills much faster

Well,,, The fuel needed to heat your house is like the water into that pail.. With the higher temps, heat is "Forced" through the insulation same as water through the nozzle or washer. The higher the delta (Difference) the faster it flows. The more you spend.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:45 AM   #5
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2x on the other post. Hit the nail on the head
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:42 AM   #6
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Thanx to all. I guess I'll keep lowering my home t'stat while I'm away for extended periods of time. I just thought that once the t'stat reached the set temperature, the furnace just kept rewarming 3-4 degrees of temperature in the house. I believe you guys.

Note: I could not open the links in the first response to my post.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:53 AM   #7
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Pawpaw, your theory/assumption would be correct IF you could make the home 100% efficient regarding it's ability to hold heat. Otherwise, the higher the difference between the indoor and outdoor temps, the less efficient the home's insulation package is at containing that heat.

Consider the scenario where your t-stat is set at 70, and it's 68 degrees outside. 2 degrees difference inside vs. outside temp. The furnace isn't going to come on very often is it? Now consider a 20 degree day. How often will it come on then? Quite a few times, right? This is because the home isn't as efficient trying to insulate against the 50 degree difference inside temp. vs. outside temp.

So on a 20 degree day, it's fair to assume the furnace will run much less frequently set at 45 degrees (25 degree difference) vs. 70 degrees (50 degree difference). -Al
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:24 AM   #8
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The greater the difference between the outside temperature and the inside temperature, the greater the driving force for the heat transfer.


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