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What Temperature Should I Set My Heat Pump in the Winter?

During the winter months, Birmingham, Alabama, homeowners often struggle with heat pump temperature settings, as they aim to find a balance between comfort and energy efficiency. Higher temperature settings result in more energy use, so it’s important to be conservative with the thermostat’s setpoint to prevent high heating bills.

Douglas Cooling & Heating shares ideal temperature settings for your heat pump during the fall and winter months to help you stay warm without high utility costs. Also, we’ll discuss ways to maximize heat pump efficiency during the heating season.

Ideal Winter Heat Pump Temperature Settings

According to the Department of Energy, 68°F is the sweet spot that balances comfort and energy efficiency during the fall and winter months. When your home is occupied and when family members are awake, a heat pump setting of 68°F keeps the living areas reasonably warm.

Now, if you’ve used a gas furnace in the past, you may have heard about temperature setbacks overnight and during the day that increase energy savings. It is advised to adjust settings down 7 to 10 degrees overnight or during the day for nine-hour periods to achieve up to 10% energy savings. This only works for furnaces, not heat pumps, so do not create a big temperature setback for your heat pump.

Temperature settings for heat pumps should remain fairly consistent for optimal energy efficiency. It’s OK to set back the temperature a few degrees to save energy overnight and during the daytime hours, but large setbacks in heat pump temperatures can cause inefficiencies, rather than improving efficiency.

When your heat pump temperature setting is greatly reduced from the home’s usual preferred temperature, the heat pump unit has a big jump to make when it’s time to get the home back up around 68°F. When the temperature differential is 10 degrees or more, this may cause the heat pump to activate its backup electrical heat strips, which are more expensive to operate. Heat pumps decline in energy efficiency as outdoor temperatures fall lower, so a severe setback is a bad idea in the middle of winter.

Reduce Heating Use without Sacrificing Comfort

While a heat pump temperature setting at 68°F provides greater energy efficiency, you may be able to set back the temperature a bit further without causing family members to shiver. 

  • Take advantage of natural solar energy to warm living areas. Open curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during daytime periods of direct sunlight.
  • Eliminate the chill of sitting by windows when you use tightly fitting window coverings during the evenings and overnight. Doing so also prevents heat loss that occurs when warm air makes contact with the cold glass.
  • Make sure your fireplace damper is not open unless a fire is burning. Open dampers allow heat to escape the home, making it colder inside.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for Heat Pump Help

If you have questions about heat pump temperature settings for winter, Douglas Cooling & Heating is here to help. Our heat pump experts are available to help you maximize heat pump efficiency throughout the winter, from utilizing the right settings to making repairs that improve system performance. Contact us today to schedule service.

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