How Low Can You(r) (Thermostat) Go?

I don’t know about you, but where I live in Colorado it’s already gotten cold enough at night to warrant turning on the furnace. At least some people in this house think so. ;)

Every year I try to resist turning on the heat for as long as possible. You can often hear me staying things like, “Put on a sweater!” or “Wear your wool socks,” but between trying to motivate my kids to get dressed in the morning when it’s freezing in the house and the fact that we had a super-wowee uber energy efficient furnace installed this summer (not to mention listening to my husband complain that I won’t win any award for refusing to turn on the heat), I caved and turned it on about two weeks ago.

It’s funny because one thing I liked to complain about as a kid was how cold my Dad kept our house. I was always trying to nudge the thermostat up a degree or two and hoping he wouldn’t notice. You’d think now that I’m an adult, I’d keep my house as warm as a sauna, but nope. Although my Dad was likely keeping the temperature down to save money, I’m doing it both to save money AND because it’s more energy efficient.

Every year Deanna, AKA the Crunchy Chicken, challenges her readers to a Freeze Yer Buns Challenge. This year is no different. A lot of people are pledging to turn down their thermostat — from a degree or two to 10 or more! A few years ago, I wrote about how we inadvertently took part in the challenge and now I challenge myself and my family every year.

One of the many Acts of Green on One Million Acts of Green is Set Your Thermostat to 18C (65F) or Less in the Winter. I haven’t been able to go that low in my house (at least not during the day) yet, but every degree you can drop truly makes a difference. Per Crunchy Chicken‘s blog, “for each degree set below 68 degrees, energy consumption decreases by about 6 to 8 percent.”

Can you pledge to lower your thermostat by a degree or two or even pledge to go down to 65 degrees (or less!)?

Head over to the Freeze Yer Buns Challenge or get signed up on One Million Acts of Green and pledge to make a difference. It all adds up!

Disclosure: Rockfish Interactive, in partnership with Cisco, is compensating me for my considerable time on this project. However, my ideas, words, and opinions are my own and are not influenced by this compensation.

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26 thoughts on “How Low Can You(r) (Thermostat) Go?

  1. Even though we live in a sub-tropical climate (Louisiana), it still gets cold enough to warrant the heat from December until about March. I really hope that we can skip the heat this year now that we don’t have a baby. I would rather buy sweaters and socks than have to turn on the heat and have to deal with high energy bills and daily sinus headaches from the dry air.

  2. The one thing that I actually like about our house is that there are separate wall heaters in each room. When we are using the rooms, the heaters are set at about 68-70, but for a lot of the day, we are heating about 600 SF of our house at that temp.

  3. I haven’t been able to go below 68 degrees during the day, so to help I open all the blinds to let the sun naturally warm the house (we’re an end-unit townhouse with 23 windows). And, I make up for it at night. I have a programmable thermostat and I’ve programmed it to decrease at llpm and then go back to 68 degrees 30 minutes before the 1st person is scheduled to get up. Occasionally when I’m up past 11pm I forget that the heater is off until I’m shivering. But, it’s worth it. There’s no need to heat the house so warm when everyone is under blankets all night.

  4. I keep my house around 68 during the day and 63 during the night and am happy with that. We just had our exterior walls insulated this week (100 year old house with no insulation…lol) so I am assuming our heat will not come on nearly as often as last year.

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  6. We live in SC and though we will probably have to turn our heat on sometime next month, it hasn’t gotten that cold yet. I love the two times of year when we don’t need the AC or the heat! Our energy bill is way lower.

  7. Great post! We keep our home at 65 degrees 90% of the time, but for about an hour in the morning it’s up to 68. I need more heat to get me out of bed. ;)

    We grew up in a single-parent home and mom always kept the heat down to save money. One thing that helped a LOT was our down comforters. Each of us had one on our beds, and they make all the difference in the world at night. You wouldn’t even know what temperature it was unless you had to get out of bed. Much more energy efficient, and while they are expensive up front, I can only imagine the money we’ve saved considering I’ve had the same one (now on my kids beds) for more than 20 years.

  8. Last year I went down to 64 during the day and at night, with 68 in the mornings and evenings. On weekends it usually stays around 65, unless we have company over then I usually bump it up a little.

    The 64 works pretty well. We have a heater for our tropical fish and I work under blankets and sweaters so no one suffers too much. Maybe once a week I bump it up to 68 during the day if I am feeling too chilly.

  9. We keep our house at 62 right now, 58 at night. We wear a lot of sweaters and try to have a fire going in order not to freeze. Our new house has a high efficiency natural gas boiler so our bill won’t be as bad as the oil heat we had last year.

  10. Oh I don’t think turning DOWN my thermostat will be helpful at all – we still have our AC running (90 degrees today in Houston).

    I’m from CO, though, and here’s a tip – moist air feels warmer. So put a pot of water on the stove to add some humidity!

  11. It’s 55 degrees in our house right now. I don’t know how low it’s getting at night. We’ve pledged to keep the heat off until November 1st or later, as long as the pipes won’t freeze. My 11-month-old doesn’t seem to notice but the rest of us are cold! I’m wearing my winter coat in my office today…

  12. I kept it at 64 degrees before having a baby. Now that we have a toddler who constantly takes off her socks and won’t wear slippers, it’s set at 66 degrees. I’ve always liked a cool house. If it’s cold outside, and I’m dressed for it, I don’t want the house to be hot.

  13. I have the heat off and it’s 67 degrees inside my house. I had family over and they complained that my house is cold.

    Wait until I turn on the heat. I keep a daytime low of 58 degrees!

  14. This is a great idea and one I’d love to get on board with. However, my husband is a thermostat blaster, especially at night, and then he always forgets to turn it off when he goes to bed, which is much later than I do. Sometimes I am woken up by how hot it gets in the middle of the night and go and turn it off or at least way down. I suppose that in order to play along we’d actually have to be on the same page here. :(

  15. luckily for me my roommate is hardly ever home, and i have an iron pot bellied gas stove in my room. i finally caved in and turned the pilot light on a week and a half ago… most of the time the pilot plus a few layers of clothing make it livable, but i am guilty of actually using the thing three times this year.

  16. Woo hoo 65?! At night, I think we’ve gone as low as 64. But when the little ones wake with cold toes (heck, when I wake with cold toes), I sneak down & bump it up a degree.
    We got new windows this year… might be able to sneak by with a little lower.
    Thanks for the reminder!

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  18. My husband just re-programed our thermostat… 54 at night and during the day when no one is home and 64 in the morning and evenings. That is just a bit lower than I’d like. I think it was 58 and 65 last year but we rewired the thermostat and lost the program. I heard that the difference in setback temp should be 8 degrees or less because the extra work to raise the temp over that amount equates to lost savings. Has anyone else heard that?

  19. I live in CA, moved here about a decade ago from CO. We moved into a condo last spring from a giant, poorly insulated house. We did not use the furnace there in three years because it was so inefficient and the house was . . .it’s hard to explain to someone from CO just how much they didn’t care about insulation here 30 years ago. You could see daylight over the stove and under the kitchen sink.

    We didn’t even turn on the pilot because 48 is as low as you can set the programmable thermostat and at that it would cook two upstairs rooms and leave the rest of the upstairs and downstairs cold. So we just didn’t bother. The coldest I ever noticed on my bedside clock/thermometer was 48 . . and that is way doable if you’ve spent time living in a house in the Front Range that’s heated by a woodstove. LOL

  20. I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  21. I love having a programmable thermostat. I do keep it warmer for about an hour in the mornings, but then it drops down to 66 for the rest of the day. (Maybe I could get it down to 65 if I can sneak it by my husband.) We do let it drop to 60 at night too. My little ones have separate heaters in their rooms, so I don’t have to worry too much about them at night. During the day their heaters are off since they don’t spend much time in there.

  22. I use our programmable thermostat and am trying to nudge it down. I just HATE to feel cold. When I’m too cold, I start to feel ill. But I will try for ONE more degree down and see how it goes.

  23. My father always kept the thermostat at 65. My mother often joked that when Nixon told him to turn it down he did, but he never turned it up. I keep mine at 65 and have even challenged us with putting it lower but 65 is the magic number for us.

  24. ah yes! i’ve made this pledge already without even having known about it! growing up D.I.R.T. poor, my mom was always keeping the thermostat at what at the time i thought – ridiculously low. to my child/teen mind i did not get that, uhm, hello – put on socks! slippers! layers! a cozy wool sweater! layered blankets at night. well, eventually i got it.

    this is the time to bust out all those fabulous quilts or warm blankets/woolies. now, i can’t wrap my head sround the mentality that i note some others have. like cranking the ac in the summer to walk around the house in sweats. or cranking the heat in the winter to walk around in shorts and a tee. seriously people DO THAT! what?!

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