Posted in Insightson Jan 12, 2011

There is a popular, yet incorrect, belief that setting a termostat to a higher temperature will cause the room to get warmer more quickly.  People who believe this will find that a 67 degree room temperature is too chilly and thus will crank the thermostat up to 80.  After an hour, the room is too warm so they crank the thermostat down to 60 degrees to get the room chilled off fast.

I suppose this belief is understandable.  If you are driving a car and press on the accelerator pedal harder, the car goes faster, so shouldn’t a home warm faster if the termostat is cranked?  No.

Most home heating systems are either on or off, meaning that they are warming the home, or they are not. A thermostat simply turns on the heater if the current temperature is less than the setting, and turns the heater off when the setting is reached.  But it will take the same amount of time to warm a room from 67 degrees to 70 degrees whether the termostat is set at 70 degrees or 80 degrees.

You will find that you will save the most on your heating bill if you only increase your thermostat by a degree or two at a time.  Never set your thermostat at a level higher than your desired target temperature.  It doesn’t warm your house any faster.


Quinn Taylor

January 13th, 2011 at 9:25 am

Too true. Same principle applies to the refrigerator — I’ve seen people crank the temperature up and down, freezing and thawing the contents of the fridge repeatedly.

Of course, my current apartment doesn’t have central heating, just an in-wall heater in the center of the apartment. Depending on the outside temperature, it’s a guessing game to figure out what the temperature setting on the thermostat should be to keep the extremities of the house at a reasonable temperature. 🙁


January 15th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Quinn’s comment reminds me of the oven in our first apartment. Di understand the gas oven was built before thermostats and pilot lights – and probably an antique even then. During the winter I found if I put a cookie sheet on the bottom shelf it would hold the door ajar about 2″. (Yes the oven was that small.) If I then opened the kitchen window opposite the oven, the oven temperature would be about 350 degrees. Needless to say we used some of our wedding money to buy a toaster oven.

Comment Form