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Old 01-28-2020, 09:42 AM   #1
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Winter Thermostat Setting


Pretty much everywhere you look, 68 degrees is the recommended winter thermostat setting. I always thought the idea of a "recommended thermostat setting" was kind of stupid. You don't know how easily I get cold. You don't know how much money I have to spend on fuel. How can you recommend a thermostat setting for me? It's personal preference, right? So I always thought 68 degrees was pointless and I keep my house nice and toasty.

Recently somebody pointed out that the humidity is a big factor too. Dry winter air combined with the high temperature can cause a lot of problems. Seems like it might have some truth to it. We do have a lot of dry, itchy skin. And saving a few bucks is always nice. I'm thinking maybe I should give it a try. At least at night.

But first I have to sell the idea to my wife. Would it really make a noticeable difference? Or not worth the fight?
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:21 AM   #2
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


Not worth the fight. My Gal likes it over 70 F when she is in a bad mood or not feeling well and I sure as heck ain't going to fight over that.

Everyone has different metabolism and feels temp differently.

I like 70 F in the day and 68 at night. I can also work outside in -40F/-40C with a 30 mph wind and survive nicely.

Point is set it at whatever feels good.

Where I am we set our AC for 70F and in the southern US 77F is normal. I would not like that. If your elec costs are very high I can understand that. Not so bad where I am.

Elderly people like a higher temp and it all depends on your metabolism. If you have dry skin get a humidifier and use a good lotion.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:24 AM   #3
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


In the wintertime we keep it at 72F during waking hours and 68F during sleeping hours. We have a whole-house humidifier attached to the furnace, controlled by a Honeywell HumidiPRO H6062 humidistat that automatically adjusts the indoor humidity for the outside temperature. We are both comfortable most of the time.

The reason humidity is a problem in the wintertime is that cold air holds less absolute moisture than warm air. So when you draw cold air at X% relative humidity into the house and warm it: Relative humidity drops. Depending upon the temperature differential, RH can drop precipitously. Thus the need for a humidifier.

The reason for adjusting indoor humidity based on outdoor temperature is that your home's envelope is neither a perfect insulator nor a perfect air/vapor barrier. When the indoor humidity level gets too high, water will condense out of the air wherever it hits places too cold for the humidity level. This is reflected in condensation on glass and around the edges of outside doors. The real danger is inside air that escapes to places you can't see and that have poor air circulation. There the moisture condenses, does not quickly evaporate, and can result in mold, mildew and rot.

A (usually) good rule of thumb is when you see moisture begin to condense around the perimeters of windows, it's time to start dialing the humidity back. I have the profile of our automatic humidistat set so that we sometimes just see condensation around the edges of windows when it gets very cold outside.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


Low humidity is difficult to live with. Your skin is itchy and your throat feels it too. You can find online recommendations for ideal humidity, but basically try to raise it until you see significant condensation on windows. The older your house, and the colder the climate, the dryer your house will be.

I don't think your $20 thermostat is quite the NASA grade thermometer. 68 on my thermostat might be 70 on yours. I try to keep it cool in my place, so that means 71 during daytime and 67 at night. I like sleeping under a heavy blanket, so the 67 is not a problem. But often, I notice my metabolism slowing down in the evening, and I need to crank up the temp to 72 or 73. You have to set it for what is comfortable for you.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:46 AM   #5
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
Where I am we set our AC for 70F and in the southern US 77F is normal.
You set your AC or furnace to 70 ? I would find 70 way to cold for summer.

I find the opposite is true for southern US. By the time you hit the Carolinas, they are trying to make it snow in the summer.
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


Quote:
Originally Posted by mathmonger View Post
Recently somebody pointed out that the humidity is a big factor too. Dry winter air combined with the high temperature can cause a lot of problems. Seems like it might have some truth to it. We do have a lot of dry, itchy skin. And saving a few bucks is always nice. I'm thinking maybe I should give it a try. At least at night.

What is your indoor RH? Flooring MFG's generally recommend about 30-50 RH, and maintain it all year.

Honestly I doubt bumping your T-stat down a degree or two will make much difference in your RH. It will just make you colder. If your RH is too low, will need to add a humidifier.
Even a portable will help.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:00 PM   #7
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


Low humidity can be a sign of excessive air leakage.

A humidifier should only be added after air sealing is attempted. Wood fireplaces, attic hatches, basements where the foundation meets the rest of the house can leak a lot.
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Old 01-29-2020, 05:02 AM   #8
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


Set it to the temp your comfortable at.
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Old 01-29-2020, 05:09 AM   #9
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


I guess we are on the weird end of the spectrum. We keep the house at 64 degrees in the winter. We figure we can throw a blanket on if watching TV and you get chilled rather than heating all the rooms in the house for local comfort. We sleep under blankets, so we aren't cold then. We do turn on the gas fireplace on occasion for ambiance and a little local heat. Gas is cheaper than electricity.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chandler48 View Post
I guess we are on the weird end of the spectrum. We keep the house at 64 degrees in the winter. We figure we can throw a blanket on if watching TV and you get chilled rather than heating all the rooms in the house for local comfort. We sleep under blankets, so we aren't cold then. We do turn on the gas fireplace on occasion for ambiance and a little local heat. Gas is cheaper than electricity.
Are you moist?
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Old 03-05-2020, 04:56 AM   #11
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


From personal experience , with a hydronic baseboard system I like 68 daytime, 62 at night. Scorched air systems (thankfully I don’t have anymore) I usually had to set at 72 to ward off the cold drafts . Set it for what ever makes you comfortable.
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:18 AM   #12
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


We built buildings for a major restaurant chain and they insisted on using Accustats just inside the return air grille and set at 72 heat/76 cool, with auto changeover. The fans ran constantly during open hours via time clock control. It was their way of keeping the help from jacking with the thermostats.

For my home comfort, I like 74 as the midpoint choice, then dropping it down to 70 in the winter nights for sleeping under a not too heavy cover and leaving it a 74 in the summer nights for sleeping under a sheet only. YMMV

It gets very muggy in the summer here when the sun goes down. It fools lots of people into thinking there is something wrong with their a/c since the outside temperature is dropping but the a/c can't seem to catch up. Explaining why that is doesn't seem to help and they keep jacking with the thermostat as if it will make the a/c run faster.
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:41 AM   #13
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


I keep mine at 66-67*F especially if the price of natural gas is high. Keep a flannel shirt on and a blanket on the couch if/when needed and you're good to go. For some reason when it gets bitter cold <20*F and certainly below 0*F and windy I feel colder indoors. Most likely due to the lower humidity, I turn up the heat to 70-71*F.
This winter has been quite normal and natural gas has been the cheapest I've seen in many years so I kept the thermostat higher this winter.

With that said I have a friend that likes it hot or his wife does and keep the temp at 78*F. I'd hate to have his gas bill even when natural gas is cheap.
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Old 03-05-2020, 03:25 PM   #14
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


remember the warmer you keep it inside the faster it cools down. you will spend more to keep the heat at 74 than to keep the temp at 68. approximately 1%-3% will be saved for each degree you lower your temperature. just putting that out there ultimately comfort is worth something too.
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Old 03-05-2020, 04:22 PM   #15
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Re: Winter Thermostat Setting


I'm acquainted with a guy that had family members always jacking with the stat, problem solved.
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