There’s nothing better than cozying up inside your toasty Boston home during the cool autumn evenings and unforgiving winters. When you’re at home, having your heater running is non-negotiable during this time of year.

But what about when you’re not home? Is it better to turn your heater off entirely or leave it running when you leave for short periods of time? Let’s clear the air on this hot topic by exploring some ways Boston homeowners can keep their heat on while optimizing energy efficiency.

The cost of heating a home

Heating and cooling make up the largest portion of a home’s energy consumption. On average, homeowners see 51% of their total energy usage go towards keeping their homes comfortable. Of that amount, over 40% is used to heat your home during the cooler time of the year.

Even factoring in the various costs of different fuels, a considerable amount of your monthly energy expenses are being put towards heating costs. These energy expenses lead many Boston homeowners to wonder if leaving their heating on all the time is a good idea or just a waste of money.

Should I leave the heating on when away?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s perfectly fine and even recommended to keep your heating system on when you’re away for short periods of time. Of course, it’s ultimately up to you, but it is possible to strike a balance between your home’s comfort and heat efficiency. Besides, keeping your heating on can help prevent some winter-related disasters such as freezing pipes.

How to optimize heating efficiency when you’re not at home.

Unfortunately, the notion that a heater has to work harder to reheat a cool space than it does to maintain a moderate temperature doesn’t hold any weight. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your heating on when gone for short periods of time. Here, we’ll explore some ways you can optimize your home’s energy efficiency so you can keep your HVAC system running throughout the winter.

Turn the temperature down.

If you’re leaving for work or running errands, turning the temperature even a bit can result in some impressive energy savings. The US Department of Energy (DOE) reports that homeowners can save 10% annually on their temperature-control bills by turning down their heating by 7 to 10-degrees for eight hours each day. The lower you set it and the longer your heating stays at that temperature will increase your savings. During the winter, the DOE suggests homeowners keep their thermostats below 68-degrees when away from home.

Use smart thermostats.

There are many different ways to heat your home, but all Boston homeowners should make use of smart thermostats regardless of their heating system. These devices make it possible to automate different heating temperatures throughout the day around your schedule so you don’t have to manually switch temperature settings every time you leave. To optimize comfort, you can program your thermostat to increase your home’s heating 30 minutes or so before you get home. That way, you don’t have to wait around at home for your heating to reach your desired temperature.

Improve your home’s insulation.

Your home’s ability to trap heat is an essential part of optimizing the efficiency of your heating system. When your insulation is compromised either due to its age, condition, or quality, heat can easily escape. As warm air leaves your house, the internal temperature drops, and your heating system is forced to work overtime to combat the constantly decreasing temperatures. This makes it difficult to leave your home’s heating on when you’re gone while still keeping your heating costs reasonably low.

Looking for a local Boston heating and cooling expert? You’re in the right place! Boston Standard Plumbing has been helping homeowners increase the comfort of their homes while decreasing energy costs. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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