Leaving heat off at night, turning on in AM - smart or stupid? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know I've read things on this, but I want to get more opinions or facts on this once and for all.

At night, I've been keeping our thermomstat at 57 or so. The heat doesn't come on, since our house so far isn't dipping below 59ish. DH wakes in the AM with the kids and will turn it up to 65 ( <-- because I think 60 is just fine and we're in a financial crunch, so I'm picky..).

It's good to do what I am doing now, right? Meaning leaving it low at night and then turning it up in the AM? Better than leaving it at 65 all night? I figure if it was at 65 all night, it'd turn on multiple times. But if we turn it on for 15 min in the morning to warm it up five degrees, that's nothing compared to running it a lot at night (for no reason).. ?
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#2 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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There have been studies that people have linked to here in F&F that showed that it does NOT cost more to leave the heat off and let the house get cold, then heating it in the morning. I'm sure someone here will have that link.
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#3 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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We live in Massachusetts where I think the weather is similar to yours right now, it's like 50s and raining, sometimes it gets down to 30s at night, sometimes up to 60 in the day.

Anyway, I'm interested to see the responses here because we do the same thing. We live in an old house and it feels like the heat goes right out the walls when it goes off. We turn off the heat at night, turn it up a little until it goes on in the morning, warm up and then keep the heat on low during the day (we're home during the day), it's chilly during the day. In the evening we turn the heat up a little (for bath time pretty much) and then after DS goes to bed we turn it down again and eventulaly we go to bed.

I think in our house if we kept the heat on a single lower temperature (like if we kept the thermostat on 60..) it wouldn't really work. The thermostat isn't really that accurate, I've noticed, the heat in the house would just keep going up and down all day.

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#4 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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I do this...We have gas heat throughout the house and then electric heat in our main living area(kids playroom/computer/t.v. room) I turn the electric heat RIGHT off at night, and the rest of the heat down..really down. Ds and dd are both wearing beyond warm p.j's and blankets and aren't cold. I bundle up as well. DH on the other hand gets made b/c he's cold....well don't sleep in your underwear! He also cranks the heat in the morning...but then when he leaves I turn it back down. I'm sure it is going to save us in gas/electricity

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#5 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should add that this is for one wall heater (not baseboard but a wall heater) in the house - the living room. The rest of the rooms we aren't using the heat yet, as they are smaller than the living room/dining room, so they stay warmer as it is.

Right now, it's about 25 degrees outside and it's 59 in the LR at the moment. But I know in three hours, DH will be up and upping the heat (even with massive layers, the man is always COLD!).
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#6 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Yup, that's definitely cheaper than leaving it at 65 all night. The colder the house, the colder the air that escapes the house, therefore the less energy lost, therefore less to replace.

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#7 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I hate sleeping where it's warm, but with kids I always would keep the heat on if it's under 55 outside. Especially after our latest stint without heat for a week. We have excellent insulation and it would be 55 in here with 3 space heaters going. That is too cold for my kids who always kick the blankets off. Especially in my room where the insulation is almost non-existant. We've had furnaces die in the middle of the night leaving the house 45 and below, so I always leave mine on no matter what seeing what happens without it here in IL.

Plus we have a boiler and it takes FOREVER to heat up. It's more efficient to leave it on a lower setting but not too low or the house wouldn't warm back up in forever.

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#8 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I imagine our house would dip into the lower 50's if we had temps in the teens or below regularly? But we don't. In fact, last winter we got 2' of snow and the temps stayed around 25 quite often. And while the heat was running often it seemed like, we'd turn it low at night and wake up to maybe 55 at the lowest.

Of course, with 2' of snow against the house (up to 6' in certain spots where the drifts were) that created insulation.

I looked and the temp in my kids room right now is 62. That is perfect, I think. They are in warm jammies plus they each use thick comforters along with having flannel sheets. I don't think I've ever felt their foreheads or limbs and found them to be cold at night.

(ETA: We were in a house four years ago where the heater died and the landlord refused to fix it. Long story short, we didn't have heat for months on end until we could escape that place. We had a fireplace downstairs, so we'd use that in the evening before bed. I think at the lowest I can remember, the house got to around 52 in the coolest spot (bathroom).)
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#9 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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I think that's exactly what programmable thermostats do, isn't it? We installed one in our house and it goes to a lower temp at night and during the day if we're not home (if we are home we over-ride it). We also sleep better if it's cool, otherwise both DH and I seem to toss and turn. The thing I love about the programmable thermostat is that it's set to start warming just before we get up - it's much easier to get out of bed if it's not freezing cold.
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#10 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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We heat with wood and only heat during the day. It is cold when we wake up but it doesn't take long for the house to heat up.

I look at it this way. Every single log I put into the fire is costing me money, so by not putting any logs on at night I am saving money.

Replace wood with whatever fuel you use to heat the house and the answer is the same.

Some people say it costs extra money to reheat the house in the AM. I can't see how reheating would take as much fuel as heating a whole house for 8-10 hours though.
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#11 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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We do this on a programmable therm. as well - and my parents did too. We are 60 at night, 64 days. I'd feel nervous lower than 60 but frankly, I can't sleep with it at 64 - that seems high. It kicks onto 70 from 6-8 am, then down to 60 all day, then 64 5-11 pm. We're home during the day, but often out and about. I only turn it from 60 up to 64 if we're home and I feel cold. It works well for us because I'd never remember to turn it down during the day.

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#12 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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we've got a programmable one that setsthetemp to 60 at 10 pm, then bumps to 66 at 6 am (for morning showers) then down to 65 at 8 am for the rest of the day)
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#13 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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I don't get it. If the heat isn't kicking on, how does it cost money? If it is, you could lower it a bit. We're in middle townhome. With houses on both sides it's often 70 with the heat set on 62.

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#14 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Because I wanted to make sure that turning it on for 15-20 min in the AM (and I am sure it turns on a bit extra after that vs. if we had left it on all night) was better than it turning on and off all night. Well, the question made sense to me at the time. Sheesh.

Anyway.. we don't have a programmable thermostat, it's manual. But that's a good point that people with programmable ones do this very thing, didn't think of that.
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#15 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 10:01 PM
 
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I read it as turning it "off" (we have a button on our thermostat to turn off the heat) as opposed to doing what you're doing.

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#16 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 04:50 AM
 
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we also have a programmable thermostat that is set to appx 55ish, and any time we are home and chilly, we override it to a comfortable temperature. the next time the programmable cycle changes, it rolls right back down to 55, so no one is responsible for remembering to turn it back down (thank goodness, because no one would turn it down and we'd have it cranked up all the time. teenagers!). i love my programmable thermostat and i will rhapsodize about it endlessly to anyone who will listen!

i think the concerns with turning it off and on come if you have a system that takes a long time to heat up and get going. we currently have a natural gas furnace, but i have lived in many old east coast buildings with radiator heat, and it was better to suffer through nights with an overhot radiator than to wait hours for it to get warm again the next day. with more modern heating, though, it's a completely different situation and it's always better to use less energy.
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#17 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 05:23 AM
 
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I agree with most others here.

Meanwhile, I wanted to mention Costco has programmable thermostats for under $30.

I've lived in older homes with wall heaters here in San Diego (electric contraptions located between the walls, sending heat into both areas). Those things are not fine-tuned to stay at any given temperature. This was before programmable thermostats, but we would always have to turn it on in the morning and then down after showers and off while we were gone and then on again when we got home from work and then down a little after dinner and off (or down real low) at bedtime. Way too much time spent on controlling the temperature! Luckily, though, our cold weather days are VERY limited here.

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#18 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarybooks View Post
i think the concerns with turning it off and on come if you have a system that takes a long time to heat up and get going.
Good point, that pretty much answers this question for me for good. THANK YOU.
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#19 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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I depends on the type of heat system. For most people, turning it off at night does save energy. If you heat with hot water radiators, it may not. The energy to reheat the water likely outweighs the benefit of not running it at night. Steam might also be in the same boat.

We do have our stat set at 55 at night but the heat still runs all night as it is very cold here. It certainly runs far less than during the day when we are at 62.
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#20 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I depends on the type of heat system. For most people, turning it off at night does save energy. If you heat with hot water radiators, it may not. The energy to reheat the water likely outweighs the benefit of not running it at night. Steam might also be in the same boat.
As far as I understand, it is *always* cheaper to turn down the heat (that is, it never takes as much energy to return a house to a higher temp than it does to maintain it at that higher temp for a period of time)

But, it may only make sense to do it if your heating system will heat the house relatively quickly. In our current house (previously forced hot air, now pellet stove) the house would heat up from an overnight temp of 55 to daytime of 60/62 in only 20 min or so. But from growing up with hot water radiators, it would take considerably longer than that (maybe, 2-3 hours) That's a *long time* to be chilly first thing in the morning!
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#21 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dsaucone View Post
I don't get it. If the heat isn't kicking on, how does it cost money? If it is, you could lower it a bit. We're in middle townhome. With houses on both sides it's often 70 with the heat set on 62.
I was thinking the same thing.

If its not running even it technical is on, can't be costing any money.

We are also in a middle townhome. With the front and back exposed. I have to say, its chilly/drafty in here. We just turned the heat on last week. But its set really low.

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#22 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I would really like to see these studies, because I don't see it, either.

If the heater spends an hour total running overnight, turning off and on, it will use more energy than running for 15 minutes in the morning, turning on once. A cold house will lose less heat to the outside because the gradient is not as steep.
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#23 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As someone else said, "i think the concerns with turning it off and on come if you have a system that takes a long time to heat up and get going."

In our old house, what we do now wouldn't have been the smartest idea due to how the heat system was setup.
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#24 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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We got a new heater installed last winter with a programmable thermostat and the guys who installed it said that it causes a lot of strain on the system to do that. We do anyway - 56 at night, up to 66 for waking. But I've wondered if we are hurting our system. He said we shouldn't have a variable of more than 3 degrees. I worry about it a little but I worry about my budget more!
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#25 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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We keep our house at 16 degrees celcius (60 farenheit) and during the day we go up to 21 degrees celcius (69 farenheit). Today it is -16 (3 degrees farenheit) outside.
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