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Winter Thermostat Settings – What is Best for the Midwest?

The debate rages on at cocktail parties and family gatherings. There are some who have an extreme view to the right and those who would prefer people lean left when it comes to the subject. One thing we can all agree on is that in Crystal Lake and the Northwest Chicago area suburbs, winters are cold. So what is the definitive answer to what is the best temperature for a house in winter? What are appropriate winter thermostat settings for your home? The answer may be a bit more complicated than you think.

The perfect winter thermostat settings involve a variety of factors, few of which are scientific or even comparable.

Thermostats are Not Always Accurate

Did you ever follow a recipe to the ‘t’, cook it in your oven and then have it burn? The likely reason is that the temperature setting and the exact temperature in the oven may not match. It happens frequently. Likewise, your thermostat may not exactly provide the temperature it is set to deliver to your home. This causes two potential problems.

The first is that the temperature you have your thermostat set at and the temperature it delivers may not match. This can be remedied by making sure your HVAC professional calibrates your thermostat with the furnace. The second issue is that the thermostat of your friends and neighbors may not be correctly calibrated. This means you may be discussing why one family enjoys a 68-70 range and others prefer a 70-72 range when in reality, the actual temperature is the same. The key is making sure your thermostat is reflective of the actual temperature your HVAC system is providing. We can do that for you at Althoff Industries.

There Is a Difference Between Heating Sources

Electric heat is often described as “dry heat” while natural gas furnaces tend to deliver heat that has more moisture. While there are products that can add humidity to electric heating systems, consumers should be aware of the differences. Comparing comfort levels in a room of the same temperature with dry heat and gas heat will offer different opinions on which is better.

Draft and Air Movement

Another major factor in the comfort of a room is the air movement in the room and if it is “drafty”. A room may be heated to an appropriate temperature but if there are drafts from under doors, through windows or due to poor insulation, the room will not be as cozy as one where there are drafts and invasive air flow.

What’s Best for You and Your Family?

The biggest considerations in the proper setting of your home’s thermostat are the comfort of your family and your energy bill goals. If your family agrees on an environmentally friendly program of wearing sweaters, using blankets, and keeping the thermostat to a certain level, congratulations! If not, there are other steps you can take, like installing a programmable thermostat that will control your furnace when no one is at home. If you live alone or as a couple, “smart” thermostats can be controlled from a cell phone to save energy when you are not at home but can get it warmed for your arrival.

The bottom line is that it is difficult to compare comfort levels with others because thermostats may be calibrated differently, homes have different insulation characteristics, and drafts may be more common in some homes than others.

At Althoff Industries, we can make sure your thermostat is accurately calibrated. We can help you create an indoor environment that uses heat and humidity that results in maximum comfort. We will help you with suggestions to keep your energy costs at a minimum.

If you are tempted to compare comfort levels with friends and neighbors, that is understandable. You should be aware, however, this may be an apples to oranges comparison. It can depend on your thermostat calibration, heating sources, insulation, air movement, and more. The bottom line is that you and your family get comfortable with both your indoor environment and your energy costs. We can help you find that balance when you call Althoff Industries.

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