Energy tracking this winter

Doing multiple things this winter to see where all my energy is being used and where I can fix it. House was built in 2001 and is insulated pretty well. Roughly 1,200 square feet of space. Single level home.

I have done a lot of research to find out the best way to watch all of the energy usage. Normally during the winter time I keep the thermostat at 68, regardless if someone is home or away. After doing some looking around I have discovered that you should really lower you temperature while your not at home and at night (over an hour 8 period). I am now only keeping the temperature at 66 while we are home and lowering the temperature to 62 while away. I also have the thermostat lowering at night down to 62. I am going to play with the lower temperature. Might lower it more but I will see in the coming colder months.

I have also put window film on every interior window to cut down any drafts that might be there. I am also using a Holmes Infrared heater in the living room. We are ONLY using this when we are home, otherwise it is ALWAYS off. I have estimated that if I only use it while we are home and it’s “cold” for the wife then it should only cost anywhere from $10 - $15 a month to run. My thermostat is also located in the living room so I am hoping that the heat being put off will keep the temp up on it and it won’t kick on as much. We shall see on that.

I have the window treatments up during the day. Everything is lowered at sunset so it traps all the heat inside.

Right now in October it has been unusually cold. The temperature outside has already dropped below 32F at night.

I have made a Google Sheets file that is now going to track all of my progress. I am watching how many times the furnace kicks on and then will go from there. Right now I’m getting some really amazing results. I am actually excited for this winter and seeing how efficient I can be this year. I have attached my Google Sheets to show. The 1st three entry’s I made the furnace kick on because I wanted to test my formulas and make sure everything was being put in correctly.

What are you doing to be more efficient during the winter months?

my wife would kill me if she saw 62 in winter… brr

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Being in Texas, we also worry about cooling. Things I do:

close air vents in large closets, bathrooms, and spare rooms (checked if this was OK first). Closed door to unused rooms.
Thermostat changes while away done by SmartThings presence sensor.
In summer, at 78 during day with ceiling fans on as-needed. 72 at night for comfort.
In winter, 65 during day. 68 at night (comfort), 62 when away.
Have AC checked every year. A loss of coolant can cause the cooling to be less efficient, yet still comfortable. Can cost 20% more before you physically notice. Same would be true of heat-pumps.
Keep lights off that I do not use (only turn on when in use).
All lights are LED. No CFL, no incandescent.

Also, I like background noise. My habit is to play music on my speaker - but keep the tv off. My brother always has the TV on for background.

I am also fortunate. My electric service provider provides charts for usage up to 15 minute resolution. Helps for electric, but not for gas usage (heater) in winter.

That being said, you have to be comfortable with your environment. Saving is important, but not as important to your well being as comfort. So try anything, but if you are uncomfortable find a comfort level.

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You’re doing a good thing! There are lots of ideas on the forum for projects that can help you achieve your goals. Some things that come to mind include: automating shades to open on the sunny side of your house when there is heating from the sun, powering down unused electronics at night (such as a cable box, any instant-on stuff like a TV, and computers), and making intelligent heating zones that know when they are occupied. Plenty of ideas here…

We’re interested in hearing how it goes for you!

At first my wife wasn’t to thrilled about the idea but if you think about it, your not at home during the time that it will be “62F”. I use webCoRE to set up a time to bump it up before anyone gets home plus I use presence sensors too.

During the night time isn’t bad either. My wife loves blankets so we already have a ton on the bed already. Again, just bump it back up in the morning before you wake up.

So far wife really hasn’t really said anything about it :slight_smile:


Of course, here in Texas, we have an AC problem. Some wives like the AC at 78. It is comfortable for them. But for some men, that is too hot. Our plea: “You can always put on more clothes, I can only take off so much before I hear screaming!”

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Been tweaking my formula tables to get everything to work effortlessly. I now have it fully set up. I am now able to view current cost per run / cost per month / overall therms used and my gas charge for the month for JUST the furnace. I literally now wake up every morning to see if the furnace kick on during the night time. IT HASN’T!!! It really only kicks on in the morning when we wake up. My zone heating is working out really well. Only zone heating the living room. Wife only said something once. I will end up taking my last years energy bills to this year bills and see how “efficient” I have become this year. This sheet will provide a quicker analysis. I might end up throwing a couple extra cells for average temp / highest high temp for the month / lowest low temp for the month.