Should You Turn Off Your HVAC System During a Mild Winter?

North Carolina, specifically the Piedmont region, is known for its erratic winters. One day, it's freezing outside with threats of snow and the next, you're wearing shorts and a t-shirt. When the temperatures get above 70, you may be wondering if you can just turn off your furnace. However, it's still January and there are still plenty of days left this winter in which you will need your furnace to heat your entire home.

We often are asked if you can or should turn off your HVAC system during a mild winter - or periods of mild weather. Considering how difficult it can be to get comfortable during this kind of weather, we understand the concern. So, today we'll discuss some points to consider when deciding how to use your HVAC system during a mild winter.

HVAC during mild winter

Wild Temperature Changes

As we've already mentioned, winters in North Carolina are all over the place. As a result, we've all learned not to fully pack away our warm weather clothing, while also keeping a blanket nearby for cold days. Trying to keep track of the temperature fluctuations from day to day can make you a little crazy if you're not mentally prepared for it, but should we be doing the same thing with our thermostat? Can you have air conditioning in the morning and heat at night? Better yet, can you just turn off your HVAC system entirely until the weather decides to behave itself?

When  it looks as if the temperatures will be mild for several days at a time, turning off the HVAC system might be a good idea. Just recognize that you may or may not be saving money by doing so and that it may take your system a little while to get back to the desired temperature once you turn it back on.

Programmable Thermostat

That said, we do recommend that you use a programmable thermostat to most efficiently use your system.

Turning off your furnace during the day will force your system to run longer to reach the temperature at which you set your thermostat in the evening when it cools down again. Instead, you can program your thermostat to run at a certain temperature during the day (we recommend a minimum of eight hours to be most effective), and then switch to another setting at night. More specifically, you can set the thermostat to reduce cycling times (turning on) when you are away or asleep if you want to conserve energy.

If you know what the temperatures will be for the next week, you can program your thermostat for an entire week. Doing so will allow your thermostat to gradually reach the desired temperature at the right time.

Alternate Forms of Heat

When it looks as if the temperatures will be mild for the next week, you may decide to turn off your HVAC unit entirely. However, it may still be cool in the evenings when you're ready to go to bed, but not quite cool enough to justify turning on the furnace. On nights like these, space heaters, gas logs or an electric blanket might be a good alternative.

Using any of these alternate forms of heat will allow you to heat a specific area without wasting energy.

A Case for Leaving Your HVAC on

If you're looking for a reason to leave your HVAC unit on during mild winters, we've got you covered there too. Not only does your HVAC system heat and cool your home, but it also circulates air, controls humidity levels and improves indoor air quality. If you choose to turn off your HVAC system entirely, you obviously won't get to reap any of these benefits, so pay attention to how your home feels and smells. It's up to you as to whether or not you run your system, but you may need to open up a few windows to let in some fresh air.

When to turn your HVAC back on

Pay attention to the weather forecasts if you decide to turn your system off. Having your HVAC system on a lower temperature during these mild temperatures may allow your system to be more capable of handling any freezing temperatures on the other side. In addition to keeping you comfortable inside, your HVAC also prevents your pipes from freezing (which can be a very costly expense). If you notice that the temperatures are going to drop again within a day or two, it may be time to turn everything back on again.

How you use your HVAC system largely depends on the needs and preferences of your family. There's nothing necessarily wrong about turning your HVAC system off, but do pay attention to the weather forecasts so you can know what to expect and how to adjust your thermostat.

If you are not sure about the best way to manage your HVAC system, call CHOICE Heating & Air Conditioning today. We can help you to manage your energy bills and indoor comfort. Call us today!

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