What’s the Most Efficient Way to Heat a House? Keeping the Heat On in Your Sacramento Home Versus Adjusting It

most efficient way to heat a houseWe’ve seen some heated arguments about the most efficient way to heat a house. We like to think of ourselves as scientific, because the work we do is technical and relies on the principles of physics. But there are a lot of theories out there that spark argument every time they come up. One of the most common debates is whether it’s better to leave a home heated even when nobody’s home, or to run the heater only when someone is there. Today we’ll compare the pros and cons, so you can make the right decision for your home and budget.

Cons to Keeping Your Heat On

We’ll first address negative aspects to leaving your furnace on because there are a lot of issues with blasting the furnace all day. The biggest is the cost of your heating bill–after all, running the heat is expensive! If you’re running the furnace it’s costing you money and if you’re not there you’re not getting a good value for your hard-earned cash. It’s actually cheaper to air condition a home than it is to heat it, and that’s true even in warmer climates than ours! Of course, this all depends on the type of heating we’re talking about. A furnace will be cheaper to run all day than a space heater that you plug in. But it’s still expensive to keep your home heated to, say, 75 degrees all day long!

It’s also not terribly responsible to the environment. It may not surprise you to hear that heating and air conditioning make up the lion’s share of most utility bills. That means that much of the energy used every month around the country comes from running the furnace or air conditioner, which is a lot of energy! And if you’re not there when the home is being heated, it’s a lot of wasted energy.

Pros to Keeping the Heat On

The biggest pro to leaving your thermostat set is simple: coming home to a nice heated house after a cold, wet day. It’s a lot more comfortable than waiting two hours for your home to heat up after you arrive. It may take a while for a house to heat up, especially a larger one during the colder months. During the time it takes, you’re not comfortable in your own home–which is the whole point of having a furnace in the first place. Believe us, we understand the appeal of leaving the heater on!

Leaving the heat on all day also makes a certain kind of sense–after all, it takes less energy to maintain a temperature than it does to raise something from a lower temperature to a higher one. But that’s actually only true in the short term–running the furnace all day will be more expensive than not running it at all. So if you’re not home, it’s not worth the energy bill.

Striking the Right Balance–With Technology!

As you’ve seen, we can’t fully land on one side or the other because it all depends on the home, the system, and the comfort threshold of each homeowner. In general, the most efficient way to heat a house is to keep the heat on, but not all the way. It makes sense that it’s faster to heat a home from 60 degrees to 70 degrees than it would be if the home is at 45 degrees, and that’s exactly what you want to do. When you leave, set the thermostat for 60 degrees. As soon as you get home, turn the thermostat up to the temperature you want. Remember, it doesn’t help to turn it higher than the temperature desired–the furnace only has two states (on or off), and there’s no way to make it work harder or faster than it already is. If your furnace isn’t working very well, it may need repair or it may just be too old–in which case you should consider replacing it.

This is also a great reason to upgrade to a programmable thermostat, which can be a cost-effective way to manage the home’s temperature while you’re away! A new, programmable thermostat can even start heating the house before you get home, so it will be at a comfy temperature when you arrive, without running the furnace all day long. With this sort of technology, and a good furnace, you can get the best of both worlds and make your home comfortable and affordable in the cold winter months. So give Bell Brothers a call–we’ll be happy to help you find just the right options for you.