Here’s the scenario. You went for vacation and left home for a couple of weeks. You have turned all the appliances off, including the thermostat for as far as it would go.
Fast forward to when you came back when you find out that you still used oil/propane. How is that possible?
Here’s the thing. An empty house with a thermostat left at 55˚ for a long period of time actually uses more energy than one which was set at 65˚. How so?
Basically it depends on what stays on at your home. For example, your television, computer, stereo, and other electronic devices releases heat when you are using them. The same goes for your lights, showers, and cooking appliances. Moreover, an average person releases 116 watts of heat per hour every day.
When combined altogether, the heat released by these appliances maintains the room’s temperature, cutting your fuel oil costs. The furnace needs to do less because of the other appliances kicking off heat.
When the furnace works less, less propane and oil are used.
Suppose you and your family went on a vacation for the holidays. Generally, what you would do is to turn the thermostat to 55˚, shut off all your appliances, and let down all the curtains. By doing this you automatically think that your bills will be lower because your home will be taking a break while you are away.
However, what really happens is that the temperature outside your home doesn’t go over 45˚ and usually plays around the mid-30 range. With your mini heaters not working and your appliances shut off, your thermostat has to actually work harder just to maintain your house’s temperature at 55˚.
What stays on at your home all contribute in maintaining the heat at your house and therefore slash the work for your thermostat. Without them, the furnace has to make up for all the heat that they usually give which the colder outside temperature usually steals.
This isn’t to say that leaving your TV on is an efficient way of heating your house. It is not. But, if the television is on anyway, you do benefit from the heat generated by the TV.
What is the best way to deal with this then? The most viable long term solution is to properly insulate your home and to ensure that you give your furnace an annual tune up in order for it to be efficient all the time.
Keep the thermostat at an even level and be aware that, even if you lower the temperature in your house, you may consume more heating fuel than if you were home with all of your devices and gadgets turned on.