It's summer, and the temperatures are climbing higher every day. Unfortunately, that may mean that your electric bill is climbing right along with them. It's understandable that as you rely on your air conditioner more in the summer, your power bill will increase, but you don't want to spend more than you have to. There are a lot of strategies that can help you keep your cooling bills down in the summer, but a very simple one is often overlooked: your thermostat placement. Find out how the location of your thermostat can make a big difference to your electric bill.
How a Thermostat Works
It's important to understand how your thermostat works. Your digital thermostat has a device inside called a thermistor. This is a resistor that measures temperature changes by electrical resistance. In other words, this is the part of the device that lets your thermostat know whether the temperature in the house is the same as the temperature that you set, or whether it's too hot – in which case, the thermostat triggers the air conditioner to turn on.
Because the thermostat is measuring the air temperature in its location, the location matters when it comes to your air conditioner's energy efficiency. If your thermostat is located in a place that's colder than the rest of the house, it won't kick on as often as you need it to, and other rooms will be uncomfortably hot. If your thermostat is in an unusually warm location, the AC will kick on too often, running up your electric bill.
Where You Shouldn't Install a Thermostat
When you're looking for the right place to install a thermostat, there are some places that you should always avoid. A kitchen is never a good place for the thermostat. Every time you cook, the room heats up and the air conditioner will kick on, even if the rest of the house is comfortable.
You should also avoid putting a thermostat near windows or doors. Even if your home is well-insulated, these are the areas where there are most likely to be drafts from outside air. This may be enough to tell the thermostat that it's warm enough to turn the AC on, even when it isn't.
One more place to avoid is an unused room or hallway. Sure, it will be out of the way, and it won't be near doors and windows that are being opened or closed, but if that space that you rarely use is colder or warmer than the main part of the house, you'll be uncomfortable or wind up running your air too much.
Where You Should Install a Thermostat
Install your thermostat in the most-used room in the house (as long as it's not the kitchen.) In most cases, that will be a living room or a family room. That way, the thermistor will be reacting to the same temperatures you're feeling.
Install your thermostat on an interior wall – exterior walls are likely to be cooler or warmer because of the outdoor temperatures. If you have an internet-connected smart thermostat, you'll need to also make sure that it isn't blocked by any wall hangings, bookshelves, closet doors, or anything else. It needs to be unobstructed and within range of your Wi-Fi.
If you need help installing or moving your thermostat, local cooling services can help. A correctly-installed thermostat in the right location can help keep your power bills under control.