What Should I Set the Thermostat To?

This morning Timmy was calling and calling for us and when I rolled over, I realized that it was already light out.  Sigh, he wanted to get out of bed and we didn’t.  We have strategically convinced him that it isn’t safe to climb out of his crib, by convincing him that he’d get hurt falling out! This strategy is very useful in the middle of the night, as we definitely don’t want a three-year-old wandering the house in the dark, but at 7AM it’s fairly annoying that he doesn’t get himself out of bed.

“Do you think I can convince him to go back to sleep?  It’s 7AM”
“No, you have to get him up.”

Two young kids snuggling under a warm blanket
Snuggling under a warm blanket

Timmy immediately wanted to wake up his big brother to play,  but I convinced him he HAD to let the other kids sleep. I knew the only way this was going to work is if I took him downstairs and set him up with the Xbox.   It was definitely my turn to get up with him, Jon has been doing this for weeks while I’ve been sick.

When we got downstairs, I realized it was freezing. I peeked over at the programmable thermostat and saw that the temperature was set to 60F and that it was 63F in the living room.  It’s good to know our insulation works, but that was definitely too cold to leave the toddler, so I reached over and pumped it up to 67F.  We have a forced hot water system with heavy iron radiators, so I knew the system would over shoot to heat the room to at least 69F by the time it turned back off.

I love our programmable thermostats,  because they are set to start warming up the upstairs about 20 minutes before our alarm goes off, and they start heating up the downstairs about 30 minutes later.  This means that if we get up with the alarms, we get up to a warm house.  Unfortunately, if we get up with a child, we have to bundle up a little until the house warms up.

Use a programmable thermostat to save energy & warm up your home before you wake up in the morning
Programmable Thermostat

When we were deciding what to set the thermostats to we decided to err on the conservative side. For example, we set them to be fairly cold at night and to a low temperature during the day.  My schedule is sporadic, and while someone might be home many days of the week (I’m part-time and Timmy’s home with a nanny some days) we know that its much easier to turn the thermostat up if we are cold than it is to remember to turn it off if we go out.

With a decision like this, it’s also important to change our mindsets about turning up the heat. I still have “must bundle up and save money” ingrained in my mind from being a poor post-college 20-something. While today I insist that people put on a sweater before turning up the heat,  I also realize that if the default is to keep the temperature low, then I have to be willing to turn the thermostat up so that people are comfortable in the house (when properly dressed).  Bundling up is not an easy mindset to overcome once its been drilled into you,  but it can be done.

Overall, we’ve decided that keeping the thermostat low by default and turning it up when needed is much greener than having it warm any time we might be home.

Happy Greening!

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