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Should You Turn Your Furnace Down or Off Overnight?


The conversation over this topic dates back a century. Since furnaces have become commonplace in US households, homeowners have debated this topic: On a winter night, is it smarter to turn your furnace off while you sleep, or should you just turn it down?

We all want to save money, and we all want to conserve natural resources. We all know, too — at least most of us know — that you do not need your house to be as warm while you sleep. With pajamas, heavy blankets, comforters, duvets, and other tools of warmth, we can use our own body heat to keep us warmer. Some of us prefer sleeping in a colder bed, and snuggling under mountains of blankets.

Which is the smarter move, though? Down or Off?

Here are three arguments for “Turn it down, not off.”

Sleeping in the cold is unhealthy

The medical consensus is that humans should avoid sleeping in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit when they can help it. Camping in the cold is an occasional thrill, but in general it is healthier for your constitution to have the air at 60 degrees or higher.

You don’t want to burst your pipes

In Cincinnati, it dips below freezing often in the winter. Your pipes, being in the walls, are in a colder part of the house than your bedroom. Your pipes have water in them, of course, and when water freezes, it expands. That expanding ice in your pipes will increase the pressure on those pipes, night after night.

When the pipes can no longer withstand that added pressure, they can burst. A pipe eruption can flood your home and do irreparable damage. You could be out thousands of dollars trying to fix those pipes and recover from the water damage.

Eight hours, eight degrees

If you turn your thermostat down by eight degrees during the eight hours that you sleep, you can save up to $170 per year on your energy bills. That is smart for everyone.

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