Adjust your manual thermostat for energy benefits

Adjust your home's thermostat for energy savings

At home, I'm known as the unofficial guardian of our manual thermostat. My family knows I like to have some control over how hot or cold our home is, and I'm afraid to say I've become the butt of a few jokes for the way I painstakingly manage our thermostat.

Hey, I'm not saying no one else can play with the heat. I'm simply following in the footsteps of my own father, who worked hard to ensure we were not only comfortable, but also careful in the way we managed our energy use.

For instance, it can be frustrating to come home from a day trip to find out that we were running the heat full-blast when no one was around. Wasteful habits like that can lead to higher energy costs in the long run.

As a result, I like to follow a few simple thermostat rules I've picked up over the years. For starters, most experts suggest setting your manual thermostat at a comfortable 68 degrees during the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.

When you leave the house or go to sleep, you can adjust these temperatures by 5 to 8 degrees (down in the winter, up during the summer). Of course, you don't have to follow these rules exactly, since some of us live in much colder or warmer climates. But, in general, these figures provide a good base to start with.

Once you've determined your ideal temperature control strategy, you'll start experiencing some real energy savings. According to Honeywell, turning back your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees before bed can save as much as 10 percent on your monthly bill. With savings like that, you can truly be the master of your manual thermostat.

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