Is it cheaper to heat a home steadily all day long?

October 16, 2014

When it comes to heating, every energy-conscious family wants to do what’s best for the planet and their household budget – and for good reason. Natural Resources Canada says over 50 per cent of a home’s energy bill goes towards heating.  So, is it actually cheaper to leave the heat on all day long at a constant temperature? The short answer is "no" and here's why.

Is it cheaper to heat a home steadily all day long?

Lower the heat at night

It’s true. Simply lowering the temperature of your home by three degrees Celsius before going to bed can save you up to 4 1/2 per cent on your electric heating bill.

  • At night you're already bundled up beneath blankets, so you're not likely to notice such a small difference. What's more, your body cools slightly when you're asleep, so a minor temperature drop shouldn't affect you.

Over the long term, this strategy will also have a significant impact on the costs of heating a home with oil or gas.

Heat according to your lifestyle

If you’re absent from home for a lengthy period during the day, lowering the thermostat by a few degrees before you leave will save you money.

  • If there are rooms in the house that get little use, stop heating them. You’ll see the impact on the total amount you spend to stay toasty warm this winter.

Install programmable thermostats

Manually changing the temperature of every thermostat in your house before going to bed, then repeating the whole process when you get up is nothing short of a hassle. That's why, in addition to the daily management of the temperature in each room of the house according to your family’s needs, you should consider installing programmable thermostats.

  • If you replace your regular thermostats with programmable ones, you can have temperature changes occurring on schedule without you having to lift a finger.
  • You can even get thermostats that are controlled through an app on your smart phone.

Make small adjustments

Even the tiniest temperature changes on your thermostat can help you save money, without compromising your comfort. For example:

  • If you need to be up by 7 a.m., you can program a three-degree Celsius decrease in temperature between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. You likely won't notice the difference at night while you're asleep.
  • After 6 a.m., program your thermostat to turn up the heat. Waking up and making your coffee in the morning will no longer be a frigid few minutes to endure while the house warms up.

Other ways to reduce your heating budget

Programmable thermostats are only the beginning. There are other things you can do to reduce your heating budget, including:

  • Caulk around doors, windows and any other areas that might need sealing. Cold drafts are easily prevented with a few simple tools and some inexpensive materials.
  • Make sure the attic and the foundation of your home are adequately insulated. An insulation expert can advise you if your home lacks adequate material to keep out the cold.
  • In winter, allow the sun to filter in through any windows with a southern exposure and close the blinds and curtains in the other windows.
  • Keep all furniture away from heat sources so the heat circulates freely. Covering air ducts or piling stuff in front of radiators prevents the heat from easily flowing throughout your home.

Despite what you may have heard to the contrary, keeping your home heated all day long at a constant temperature won't save you any money. However, a few tweaks in how  and when you heat your home could add up to a big bundle over the course of a winter.

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