In the U.S., nearly every family has a thermostat. We want to be in comfortable temperatures no matter how hot or cold it is outdoors. In some ways, we are almost trained not to think about the money or environmental impact. If you are doing well and can afford to heat and cool your house constantly, why wouldn’t you?
There are plenty of reasons to cut down on your thermostat costs and plenty of ways to do so. Whether you are trying to do the right thing by decreasing your carbon footprint or just want to save some money, below are some ways to cut down on your thermostat costs and the subsequent environmental impact that it has.
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Make Sure Your House Is Insulated
Did you know that if your house isn’t properly insulated that you could be throwing money away on your thermostat? For example, if you have an attic that doesn’t have insulation, the air from the thermostat escapes through the roof. This is particularly relevant when you are heating the house because heat rises.
If your house isn't insulated, consider trying fiberglass insulation. This method will keep the air you want in your house and the air you don’t want out. You won’t have to turn the thermostat as high or low and you will end up paying less on your bills.
In our current home, we have 2 stories. The first story is where most of the “house” is. The bedrooms, bathrooms, dining, etc. The second story has one bedroom (Mr. Misadventures' office), 1 huge bonus room above the garage (my office), and a bathroom in between. However, in my hubby's room (office) there is also a door that leads to the attic which I found strange when I first moved to North Carolina.
It definitely would be a source of extra heat in the summer and cold in the winter except for the fact that it has fiberglass insulation!
Seal the Doors + Windows
Beyond installing insulation to keep the air in and out, you should also think about sealing your windows and doors. A lot of doors and windows have tiny openings that allow air to get through. This won’t help your thermostat usage at all.
You may not even realize it, but the air escaping your windows and doors could be costing you a lot of money. If you think that you are paying too much for your thermostat and using up too much energy because air is leaving your house, have an expert look at it. Sealing all the windows and doors in your house could change the game.
If you cannot afford to do professional sealing then try a DYI method that the Misadventures family has used in the past. We used door draft protection via a “stopper” and it works wonders. The same for windows. You can also buy your own sealant and caulk the edges of your doors and windows.
Buy a Smart Thermostat
Another way to decrease the cost and impact is to invest in a smart thermostat. These thermostats allow you to control the temperature remotely from your phone. When you have this capability, you don’t have to leave the air or heat on all day, so the house is comfortable when you come home.
Instead, you can leave it off and turn it on to the ideal temperature on your way home. By the time you arrive, the house will be at your preferred temperature. You can even change the temperature of specific rooms with some of these smart thermostats. Not only will this investment save you money in the long run, but you will also decrease your impact on the environment in your day-to-day life.
Mr. Misadventures and I were early adopters of Nest thermostats. We both worked for Logitech for over a decade. I was in marketing (have been my entire career) and a few of my friends left to join a start-up called Nest! They built it up successfully and then sold it to Google! I know the people that created the product and I believe in them.
We have had Nest in ALL our homes since the second generation of the thermostat that launched in 2012.
The old-fashioned method of conservation is just not to use your thermostat. You should only turn on the air conditioning when it’s hot and only use the heat when it’s unbearably cold. During the winter, you can use a fire pit and put on warm clothing. The summer is the time for fans and cool beverages.
Just because you have a thermostat doesn’t mean that you must use it all the time. Whether you have a smart thermostat and insulation or not, limiting your usage is always necessary to save money and limit the impact on the environment.
This is how a grew up! I have fond (!) memories of my Dad “yelling” at my sister and I to turn off lights, shut doors and “put on a sweater” all in an effort to save money and limit the usage of the A/C or heater.
Install Solar Panels
Beyond saving energy and money on the thermostat, you can also create your own power. Installing solar panels will help you provide your own energy and, in some cases, become self-sufficient. Depending on where you live, some people are even producing energy to sell power back to the grid.
While it is always vital to pay attention to our energy usage, creating your own power with a method like solar panels can facilitate your carbon footprint.
Our home in Berkeley had solar panels and we produced enough energy that we “gave back” to the power grid. Our PG&E bill for a 3-story 1550-square foot home was under $20 a month! We recently started using a solar-powered generator too for camping and power outages, solar is an important part of boondocking when you have an RV.
As it turns out, there are plenty of ways to cut down on your impact on the environment and save money on your thermostat. The amount you use is one thing, but your insulation, sealing, and power creation all can play a role.
These days there’s no reason to throw away money and have too much of a negative impact on the planet. Putting in a little effort, you can stay comfortable and responsible.
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How about you? Do more tips on how to cut down on your thermostat costs and environmental impact? Do share!
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