How do I Operate Heating or Cooling Devices to Reach the Temperature Set Point?


The temperature set point of a heating or cooling device is the temperature the thermostat must reach before the air conditioner or furnace will shut off. To operate the heating or cooling device, the operator selects a temperature on the thermostat he feels most comfortable. When the thermostat senses a temperature that is lower or higher than the set point temperature, it signals the furnace or air conditioner to begin operating. While the thermostat does most of the work to ensure a temperature set point is reached, there are a few things the home occupant can do to guarantee the set point temperature is reached in the most energy efficient manner.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermostat
  • Ensure correct placement of the thermostat. The thermostat should be located away from direct sunlight, appliances, lamps or air vents. The thermostat measures the temperature of the air surrounding it to determine when the temperature set point is reached. Nearby sources of heat or cold can cause the thermostat to reach the set point temperature before the rest of the house has become comfortable.

  • Choose an appropriate temperature for the season. The U. S. Department of Energy's website Energy Saver recommends a home temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter and 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. These temperatures will save on energy costs because the heating or cooling devices will not have to work as hard to reach or maintain the temperature set point.

  • Keep air vents and registers clear. Do not place furniture in front of or over vents. This will block the flow of air and cause the air conditioner or furnace to run longer than necessary to reach the temperature set point.

  • Perform regular maintenance on the air conditioner and furnace. Change air filters every one to three months depending on the size of the home and the number of occupants. Vacuum air return vents to keep them free of dust that may reduce air flow. Keep outdoor air conditioning coils free of debris to prevent overheating in the summer and freezing in the winter.

  • Inspect the home for source of hot or cold air leaks. Check the doors and windows for cracks allowing inside air to escape. Keep fireplace flumes closed when not in use. Bathroom ventilation fans should have one-way valves installed so air cannot escape unless the fan is on.

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