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WILL I SAVE ENERGY IF I CRANK THE THERMOSTAT UP TO 80 DEGREES EVERY TIME I LEAVE THE HOUSE?

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Cranking your thermostat way up whenever you leave the house won’t necessarily reduce your air conditioning bills.

The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply setting your thermostat 10 degrees or so higher in summer or back in winter, for eight hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing a programmable thermostat.

Here’s what doesn’t work:

1. Changing the thermostat setting for short periods several times a day. If you’ll be gone for less than six hours, leave your thermostat where it is.

2. Lowering the thermostat to 60 degrees when you get home to kick the a/c into high gear and cool the home quicker. That doesn’t cool your home off any faster, but it will use more energy than if you set the thermostat to a reasonable temperature.

Your best bet: Set it and forget it. You can set various schedules for work and sleep on weekdays and weekends, and let the programmable thermostat “remember” when to change for the most efficient, and comfortable, result.

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