Thermostat questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by AnnaS, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2003
    Location:
    Verndale MN
    Need some opinions/experience on how warm to keep my mobile home.
    I have been turning my thermostat down to 55 at night and when I'm not home. In the AM and when I get home from work, I turn the heat up to 70. The thermostat is on 70 for about 5 hours a day total.

    Dad says this is "bad for the house" as the lumber will expand and contract several times a day (it does, you can hear it popping), and that I'm using more propane heating it to 70 2x a day than if I left it at 70 consantly.

    I say I'm using less propane as the furnace is on less, and when the temp is at 55 there is less heat loss outside since the temp difference is less.

    A factor in here is the roof, which is in bad shape. On Sunday I was home until noon, the furnace ran almost constantly, and melted all the snow off the roof. Hope I can get the roof replaced in spring but it won't happen this winter.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,695
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    You save on energy by turning the therostat down when you are gone. I spent two months to demonstrte this to my DH. The bill for the colder month (with the thermostat turned down at night) was less than for the warmer month when it was set at 70 all of the time.

    As for the roof needing replacing, does it leak? 'Cause, insulation is what holds the heat in more than a new roof.
     

  3. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    I would lower the differential between temps., say 60 at night and 68 when youre home. Most of the heat is being absorbed by the walls, furnature,etc.
    And fix that roof, by adding an insulating layer.
     
  4. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I would have to aggree that a smaller differential in the temp settings would be more efficient. It takes a lot of energy to heat a space from 55deg to 70deg, especially if you don't have good insulation.If you are comfortable at 70 deg, I wouldn't turn the thermostat to about 65 when you're not home or sleeping.
     
  5. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    If you get your house too cool when unoccupied, it can take more heat to re-heat it than keeping it at a constant temperature. Depending on how much time you keep it at a lower temperature between the times when you want it hot determines which temperature is better.

    However, keeping it too high when occupied or unoccupied will use more heat than lower if you keep it lower.

    I suggest you try changing the unoccupied and night "setback" to 62, and the occupied to what ever you are comfortable with. Your bill, in the winter is "directly proportional" to the temperature differential between the inside and outside.

    If you can stand having a lower indoor temperature (like 68) by adding more clothing while inside, and having the whole house at a lower temperature, then you will save money on heating.

    Some people in very cold climates keep their houses much warmer (sometimes higher than even 70). Some like to feel the heat when they come inside, and may enjoy temperatures of 75 and above when fully clothed. The indoor temperature setting is very personal.

    Then there is Dave P ... "Alone in the Woods" PBS Alaska log cabin builder who says, "When it was fifty-below outside, I was ‘toasty-warm’ at plus 40 above INSIDE". Well there are different ideas about indoor comfort.

    Alex
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,695
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Try it each way and see for yourself. I have found that it saves me money by dropping the temp at night, but it may be that not all homes are created equal.
     
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    All homes are not created equal and you will have to experiment with what works for this particular home. It is true that you the materials of the house itself will absorb heat. If that is all lost, then you are re-heating them each time you turn the furnace back on. It is also true that you could be losing more out that roof by leaving it on than what it takes to re-heat.

    See if you propane company has a meter of some type you can borrow to figure your exact usage under different settings. If not, you'll have to go by fill-ups which can mean a long time experimenting.

    Different conditions will also change things. Snow on the roof actually helps insulate, wind can change everything, etc.

    Good luck

    Jena
     
  8. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Get some paintable caulk and some weather stripping and fill any air leak you find. Also closing off rooms not being used helps. Keep closet doors and cabinet doors closed. Check windows for leaks and consider putting plastic over some or all of them. I use shrink wrap and staples. Also hang some Indian blankets as wall decorations might help a little. You can get them at truck stops for $5. I do not think the wood expands with temperature as much as change in moisture content. 70 holds more moisture then 50. You could get a condensation problem that looks like a roof leak changing the temperature. I think it is cheaper to turn heat down like you are doing. Wet insulation does not insulate very well,
     
  9. ajaxlucy

    ajaxlucy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,799
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    I think your energy savings depend on how long a period of time the heat is turned down. If it's only a few hours, you probably don't enjoy any appreciable savings because it can take so long to reheat the house. If it's down for many hours, though, you do save. My energy bill shows the difference. We turn the thermostat down to 55 at night and 62 during the day. It's only up to 68 for a few hours in the morning and about 4 hours in the evening. When my mom was staying with us, though, it was up to 68 almost all the time and we paid more for that.
     
  10. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,026
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    We got a digital thermostat that lets us set weekday and weekend programs to adjust the temp for us. The most success for us is a smaller difference in the temps. For instance, it is set for 64 at night, and then up to 66 at about 5 AM, then 68 at 7 AM when clients start arriving, etc. We have a three story house and it breathes, so the higher temps aren't stifling. And free gas helps.

    My sister reports better performance at a steady temp of 64 in her old home. Course, she pays for gas.
     
  11. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    839
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ripley Co. Mo
    Summer time my air thermostat stays set at 70. Winter, my night time heat setting is 70 for sleeping. During the day if I am inside working, it is 70 and I am hot. At evening when I am on the computer or watching tv and not busy, I have to turn it up to 80 because I suddenly get cold. I think each person has to adjust the temp to what they are comfortable with.
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,263
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    I'd be dead & broke if I had to be in a house with a thermostat at 80..... ;)

    I have the house at 63 if I'm in it, set it back to 55-57 if i'm not. Special occations I'll bump it up to 67.

    It's 8 degrees outside right now, 64 in here on the wall thermometer, and I've been in my short sleeved pjs for a couple hours on the computer..... I could not sleep if it were 70....

    We are all built differently. :)

    As to original question, that does seem to be a pretty big temp difference, I'd not think it so easy or good to make it more than 10 degrees.... I would obviously keep it at 55 when not there, 65 when I was, but you might want to go 70 for a high, 60 for a low. Setting it back does save energy, continue to drop it back some.

    --->Paul