Cheaper to turn heat off or stay on low during the day?
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  1. #1
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    Default Cheaper to turn heat off or stay on low during the day?

    Hello all,

    I will be moving into a top floor 1-bedroom apartment (building is 4 stories) and I want to be as economical as I can about my electric heating. I've read a lot of past threads about people turning their heat down during the day when they're at work, etc. I was wondering, would it be even cheaper to turn the heat off completely? - I will be gone for a good 9 hours each day. Would turning the heat back on to heat the whole place back up when I get home cause too much of an electric boost and therefore, negate cost savings?


    I do plan to use the following to healp with cutting costs:
    -Fleece/flannel clothing, socks
    -Electric heating mattress pad
    -Small low-wattage space heater
    -Insulate my windows with heavy thick-lined coverings

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    In my experience with both heating and air conditioning, it is more costly to turn things completely off as opposed to setting the temps back. Everything in the apt. has to either re-heat or re-cool...walls, furniture, carpets. Depending on where you are located, you might be fine during the colder months being on the top floor, but the AC bills might be extremely high. Does your power company have Smart Meters?

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    Thanks for your answer : ) I'll check with the power company about Smart Meters.

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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    I agree that you want to keep the "hard-scaping" in the apartment warm otherwise you're just wasting energy re-warming them so turn down the thermostat, not off. Frankly, I experimented and found that my bill barely changed if I just set my thermostat at a low but comfortable temperature and just left it.

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    I agree with CookieLee on setting the thermostat and leaving it. I turn it down just a tad lower in the winter only because I don't sleep well if it's too warm. Same for summer. I can handle heat better during the day than I can at night. Either way, it's usually within just 2-3 degrees. And remember, especially in the summer, fans are your friends. I have ceiling fans in every room but additionally, I have several little fans that help tremendously.
    One more thing I thought of...you will probably find your apartment windows let heat escape, let hot air in. The plastic will help, but also hand curtains/lined drapes. Makes a big difference. If you can possibly afford it, purchase thermal curtains.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Agree with SB on the thermal curtains......they help for both summer and winter.

    Since you are gone, I, like the others, would just turn it down.......NOT OFF........not sure about elec. heat but everything I have read about gas is that it will work the furnace more (not only more expensive but harder on the furnace) when turned off....or real low.

    I am home, but keep mine at 65 in the daytime. Sometimes when it is really cold (read WINDY!) I will turn it up to 68 when sitting, watching TV,.....but also use a blanket to cover up. I do turn it down to 58 at night.........don't like a warm house to sleep in.......and then when I turn it back on in the morning I only turn it to about 62..........since I am running around for about an hour or more doing my 'morning thing'..........

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    I'm total electric, frugalfranny, and it's the same thing. Takes a long time to heat or cool things if the thermostat has been cut too far back. Even after it's reached the set temperature, there is still a hot or cold feeling in the room.

    I also have an electric hot water heater. One trick I've learned is to use cold water for all those little quick things...preparing a meal and want to just rinse food off hands - use cold. Boiling water for whatever - use cold and cover with lid. Each time the hot water is used, even for just a cup of water, the electric hot water heater kicks in. I can just see those kwh's ticking by on the meter.

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    It's great that you'll be on the top floor, since heat rises.
    I would turn the heat down 5 degrees or so when you leave for the day.
    It shouldn't take too long to warm back up when you return.
    With all your other ideas (warm clothes, heated mattress pad, etc.) you can probably keep the thermostat set pretty low and still be quite comfortable.

    Something I've discovered:
    When you're really cold and can't seem to get warm, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate (real milk with Nestle's Quik or something similar).
    About halfway through the cup, you will feel your toes start to warm up.
    Only hot chocolate affects me this way - not coffee or tea.
    If you don't like hot chocolate, you can just add a little sugar and vanilla to a cup of hot milk.
    Jean

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    DH used to live on the top floor of an apt building. His apt was tiny so any heat from cooking or using electronics (computers & tv) did heat up his apt quite nicely. He was able to get by using only a tiny portable space heater as needed. He worked a lot of long days so the few hours he was home, he was comfortable. He too, liked things cooler. He believes in putting on more clothes, proper clothes and blankets to stay warm vs cranking the heat.

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    Thank you all for such useful info : ) I will make sure to NOT turn my heat off while I'm at work, just down a tad. Thank you!

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    We did the turn off a couple years ago for a month. If there was a difference we didn't see it. Course it could have been different temps from one month to the other but all I remember is sweltering when we came in to the hot house after work and it took FOREVER to cool down. I would imagine it would be the same with heat.
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    When I lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment, my heater barely even ran. Winters were cheap, but summers were a bear. To answer the question, I just lower the heater temp, rarely turn it off.

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