Which Is More Energy Efficient? (Your Advice)

Your Advice - help answer readers' questionsThere is nothing like a good debate between friends to get to the bottom of some of those questions that everybody wonders about. I received one of those questions by e-mail the other day and thought I would give it to all of you to come up with the best answer.

A co-worker and I are having an ongoing debate: Is it more energy efficient to turn down the house thermostat during the day (after leaving for work in the morning at about 7:00 am since no one is home) to 50 degrees, then have it turn on automatically at 3:00 pm to 67 degrees to warm the house up for a 6:00 pm return or to keep it at a constant 67 degrees the entire day?

My co-worker contends that too much energy is consumed to return the temperature to 67 to make it economical. Do you have information on this?

I asked a couple of friends what their opinion was and it seems that there is a fairly even split between those who believe that leaving the temperature at a constant while you are gone and those who believe you should turn the temperature down is better. I am sure that there are plenty of other people who would like to know which is more environmentally friendly and I’m sure that the readers here will shed light this issue.

6 thoughts on “Which Is More Energy Efficient? (Your Advice)

  1. I am not an expert in the subject, but just from a rational standpoint what your friends says doesn’t make much sense. If that were the case, then you would want to also keep the heat at the same temperature all night since it would be more expensive to warm up the house each morning.

  2. Heat transfer depends on several variables, so the answer isn’t going to be the same for every home in every situation. If you’re trying to maintain a poorly insulated home at 70 degrees when it’s 20 degrees outside, you’re constantly losing heat to the outdoors, so it might be better to turn it off during the day. If your maintaining a well insulated house at 70 degrees when it’s only 60 degrees outside it will make little difference if you shut it off or not.

  3. You will save energy by turning down the heat during the day. Your average house won’t go down a full 17 degrees over the course of the day, but even if it dropped all the way to 50 it’s still more efficient. If your furnace tried to heat the house to 67 degrees instantly, it would be less efficient and you might have a case. But since 100% of furnaces simply turn on at a fixed rate when it’s time to warm the house, it’s more efficient to give it a break during the day.

  4. The temperature drops a lot at night so the rule of thumb I’ve heard is you should lower the temp at night. We just have baseboard heaters with a temp dial to turn it on. What we do is turn it down to 50 at night, we’re not around enough in the morning to warrant turning it back on until the first person gets home in the evening, then we turn it up in increments until it reaches the desired temp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *