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Conserve energy by managing your thermostat

Closely managing your thermostat is an easy way to increase your energy savings.

Closely managing your thermostat is an easy way to increase your energy savings.

In the summer, set the thermostat as high as you can while still maintaining comfort. In the winter, set the thermostat as low as you can while still maintaining comfort.

If you have central air conditioning and heating, keep the fan switch on 'auto.' The exception is for multistory homes where temperature stratification is a problem between the upper and lower floors; leaving the air handler running can reduce the temperature difference, and let you use less heating or cooling energy while keeping all parts of the home comfortable.

For heating and cooling systems other than heat pumps, manually set the temperature even higher (in summer) or lower (in winter) if you are going to be away from the residence for four hours or more. The longer the temperature adjustment period, the more you save. It will not take long to heat or cool your house or apartment back to your preferred temperature when you return.

If you're in a hot and humid climate, you may not want to raise the temperature setting too much, because humidity problems may occur. The air conditioner helps remove moisture from the air.

Instead of manually adjusting the thermostat, you may decide to install a programmable thermostat, which will allow you to set different temperatures at different times of the day. The temperature will automatically adjust during times you are home and times you are away. This will save you money.

For each degree you raise your thermostat (in summer) or reduce (in winter), you may be able reduce your heating or cooling costs on average by 2-3 percent.

- For more information, visit www.extension.oregonstate.edu/washington/.