House heating: leave it on or off at night?

If you want to minimize your heating expenses, is it better to turn off (or lower) the heat at night, and start it again in the morning, or leave it on all night?

I would think that turning it off would be better, as you’re running the heater for less time. OTOH, you’re warming up the house by a greater amount in the morning. Anecdotally, my grandmother says that she lowered the heat at night while her neighbor in a similar house left it at a constant temperature, and her neighbor had a lower gas bill.


To conserve energy, you should always turn it off or lower when you don’t need it. It’ll never take more energy to raise your house temperature than it will to have maintained that temperature the whole time. Remember that more heat is escaping the house when the temperature in it is higher, and the escaping energy is what you’re paying for.

Heh. Arizonans and Texans discussing home heating.

No matter how you look at it, more heat escapes from a hot house than a cold house. The heat you lose ain’t coming back. In addition, heating a cold house is more efficient than heating a warm house because the heat exchanger extracts more heat from the furnace when the house is cold. When this is true the exhaust going up the chimney is colder then normal, i.e., the furnace is more efficient. Turn it down at night.

Lower the thermostat at night. Sleep under heavy blankets. If possible, throw a couple of dogs under there. :slight_smile:

The energy required to bring your house up to an acceptable temperature in the morning is far less than what is required to heat your house all night long.

I’m not so sure, I keep the radiator thermostats on low and run the central heating continuously - mainly because I don’t like fluctuating temperatures, but I don’t see the heating usage having changed much.

Possibly this is down to the structure of the building, large single glazed windows and thick (double skinned cavity brick) throughout.

Though I possess no canines, I can envision the scientific method of “conservation of energy”.

However, I’m not sure how high the “Eeeewwww dogs in my bed” factor relates to the “bump the thermostat a couple degreess” factor…

I’m guessing it’s somewhat subjective.

It is curious, but multiple sources of warmth appear to conserve heat better than a single source - obvious in a way as there are multiple sources.

The last dog that slept on my bed was 30 years ago, an American Racoon Hound, misleadingly called Bambi, he was an inveterate duvet nicker - with a baleful eye.

It is not warmer sleeping with some dogs.

Yes, you want to turn it down at night.

We have a thermostat that allows you to say how far off from your setpoint you want to allow the temp to get before the heater kicks in.

We set it for 69 when we’re home. This puts it in the range of 67-69 which we find to be on the cool side of comfortable.

During the night, we set it for 67, which means it won’t kick in until the house temp is 65, a rare and dire event that only happens when the overnight chill drops into the upper 30s or lower.

During the day when we’re at work, we set it for 65, meaning it will kick in at 63, something that almost never happens, leaving the furnace off for most of the day.

Our gas bills are comfortably low for the time being.

It’s a serious issue. Have you ever been in Tucson at night in December? It’s freakin’ cold!

Summer nights in the desert are heavenly, though–stays nice and warm all the way through. Midnight in Tucson in the summer feels like a spring afternoon in San Diego.

It can’t be that freakin’ cold if you even consider turning your heat off at night. I’ve had my furnace break a couple times, and it ain’t fun at 2 am in the frozen north with no heat in the house.

But don’t let me stop you. I’m sure some of this info will be useful to me someday - it occasionally gets warm enough for me to turn my heat off at night come June or July. :smiley: