[twitter]How long do you wait until you turn the thermostat on? Aaron Gouveia holds off as long as possible, like it’s a game of Survivor. He wrote of his passionate pursuit of saving a few bucks at The Daddy Files, and saw his rant go viral across his community where neighbours cheered his determination.

It was 60 degrees in our house today. I’m writing this in slippers, wool socks, fleece pajamas, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. My wife and kids are dressed in a similar fashion. We have scarves, long johns, blankets, and electric blankets at the ready at all times.

Being the last of your friends and family members to turn on the heat is a badge of honor. Every time you hang out with people and talk about the weather, someone says “you turn the heat on yet?” I smile at the ones who look away in shame as they mutter something about “Well the wife was freezing” or “we had to because of the newborn.” Suckers.

Hard-headed stubbornness aside, Gouveia’s got the right idea. The best thermostat temperature to save money in the winter is 1 degree colder than whatever you have it set at right now. Then, next week, a degree colder again.

This is a typical schedule for a Nest Smart Thermostat user. Warm-up before you wake up, cool for the day, warm before you get home, cool again when you go to bed:

Nest Smart Thermostat Schecdule

My Nest Smart Thermostat schedule channels my inner Gouveia and takes it down a notch.

My Nest Schedule

Seriously, if you want to save money on your heating bills in the winter, the best thermostat temperature is the one you’re most comfortable with a sweater and socks on. If you’re taking clothes off in the house because you’re warm, your thermostat is too high and you’re not saving money.

Set your thermostat to 19-20 degrees during the day in the winter, and 13 degrees at night to keep your home comfortable and save on heating costs.

That said, For every degree you lower your heat in the 15 to 20 degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. So that’s why I dial it back and keep it as close to 18 degrees as I can handle (usually until my wife complains). Wear warm clothing like a sweater and set your thermostat to 19 degrees or lower during the day and evening. Set the thermostat back to 13 degrees at night or when leaving home for an extended time, saving up to 20 percent more on your heating costs.

A programmable thermostat is the best way to save energy and a Nest Learning Thermostat is the easiest way to do this. None of the pushing buttons on an old beige box. You’re using an app, dragging sliders, and if you forget or change your routine, you can turn it off remotely via the app.

We’ve had a Nest since the spring, and while I’m not as hardcore as Gouveia about turning on my heat, I am militant about keeping the temperature around 18 degrees during the evening, and I use the scheduler to make sure as soon as we all leave or school and work, the temperature drop.

Thanks to Direct Energy for supporting Team Diabetes Canada and supplying me with a Nest so I can share my experience with you over the course of the year.

Sign Up to the Direct Energy 5-Year Comfort & Control Dual Fuel Plan and receive:
– A fixed rate of 8.59¢/kWh for your Alberta electricity that won’t change for the entirety of your 5-year contract term – guaranteed!
– Flex-through Alberta natural gas with the security of a winter cap of $5.99/GJ*
– A Nest Learning Thermostat™ – valued at $249 – at no additional cost**

Top image via Nathanael Coyne on Flickr

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