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3 Ways You’re Using Your Thermostat All Wrong

Summer is for spending money at the water park and going out of town—not wasting money on high utility bills.

But did you know you may be throwing away money every month because of how you use your thermostat?

That’s why we’re sharing 3 ways you’re using your thermostat all wrong:

  1. Leaving your thermostat on the same setting
  2. Turning down your AC to make it “cool faster”
  3. Using the WRONG fan setting

Let’s go into more detail about each of these ways and how you can properly use your thermostat...

#1: Leaving your thermostat on the same setting

Some homeowners think they should leave their thermostat on one setting, all the time. Sounds harmless, right?

Actually, leaving your thermostat on 1 setting costs you more money. According to ENERGY STAR, you could be wasting as much as $180/year leaving your thermostat on one setting.

It makes sense, though: You don’t need your home constantly at a comfortable 73° while you’re at work 8 hours during the day, right?

What you should do instead:
Instead of leaving your thermostat set to one setting all the time, try this tip:

  • Set your thermostat 5°–8° higher during the summer or 10°–15° lower in the winter when you’re away 8+ hours. Then, when you get home, you can set the temperature back to your desired setting.

Having trouble remembering to change your thermostat? Consider a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat learns your schedule and automatically adjusts itself to the best temperature based on the time of day. That way, you won’t have to manually set your thermostat when you leave or come home every day.

#2: Turning down your AC to make it “cool faster”

Some homeowners think they can “trick” their air conditioner into working faster by setting the temperature a few degrees lower than their desired temperature (for example, setting your thermostat to 70° when you really want the room to be 73°).

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Unless you have a two-stage AC, your AC only works at one, constant speed. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature just makes your air conditioner work longer to reach the 70° setting, which just raises your energy bills.

What you should do instead:
Just set your thermostat to your desired temperature. If you’re worried that your home takes too long to cool down, you may need an AC professional to take a look at your equipment to make sure it’s working properly.

Also, consider investing in a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are similar to programmable thermostats in that they learn your schedule, but they’re also connected to your home’s WiFi so you can control them remotely. If your schedule changes frequently, a smart thermostat allows you to change your temperature settings on-the-go from your phone, tablet or laptop.

#3: Using the WRONG fan setting

There’s a wrong way to set your fan, and a right way to set your fan.

The WRONG way to set your fan is the “ON” setting. This setting just makes your fan run constantly, regardless if your room has reached the desired temperature.

The RIGHT way to set your fan is the “AUTO” setting. On “AUTO,” your AC’s blower (and the rest of your heating/cooling system) turns off once your room reaches the desired temperature.

The “ON” vs. “AUTO” fan setting on a thermostat.

What you should do instead:
Always set your fan to “AUTO.” Depending on the size of your air conditioner, setting your fan to “AUTO” can save you $8 a month (almost $100 a year) on your electrical bill.

For more information, read our article “On vs. Auto: One of These Thermostat Settings Costs You Big Time.

Need help with your thermostat or AC unit?

Contact George Brazil to speak with one of our knowledgeable service representatives. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, or schedule an AC repair with one of our trusted technicians.

We’ve been serving families in the Phoenix area since 1955.