Should You Turn Off Your System During a Mild Winter?

January 15, 2016

Jacksonville, Florida, is known for mild winters that make shorts and T-shirts a possibility even while the rest of the country needs to bundle up. If you have a furnace in your home, you might not even need it. However, there are days when it is cold enough that you need to heat your entire home. This kind of weather can make it difficult to use your system efficiently. There are times when you are not quite sure if you should keep the furnace off or use it periodically. Here are some points to consider when deciding how to use your HVAC system during winter in our area.

Temperature Variations

In Florida, winters might bring 40-degree nights and 70-degree days. One week can see temperatures in the 80s with the following week producing temperatures in the low 50s. Not only do you have to worry about temperature fluctuations from day to day or week to week, you have to consider thermostat settings for wide temperature swings within a 24-hour period. This kind of variation can make it necessary to have air conditioning in the morning and heat at night. Or you may be able to turn the air off during the day but need heat during the night. On those ideal occasions, you can do without heating and cooling your home altogether.

However, it is those times that you constantly have to manipulate the system that you dread most. You’ve heard that it is best not to turn off the system unless it is for extended periods. However, this might not always work in all situations. The best solution is to use the system wisely.

Programmable Thermostat

You might be concerned that if you turn off your system during the day and turn it back on at night, you might consume unnecessary energy. The furnace will have to run longer to reach the temperature at which you set your thermostat. A programmable thermostat is perhaps one of the most effective tools you can use. Setting temperatures for a minimum of eight hours is considered to be effective. More specifically, you can set the thermostat to reduce cycling times (turning on) when you are away or asleep. Many thermostats allow you to program for an entire week. Those that provide forecasts can help you to program your thermostat more accurately.

You will be able to program your thermostat to gradually reach the desired temperature at the right time. When the mild temperatures last for several days, turning off the HVAC system is a good idea.

Space Heaters

When your home is cold but you can’t justify turning on the furnace, space heaters can be a good alternative. One advantage of using space heaters is the ability to heat specific areas. This helps to provide the comfort you need without wasting energy. The central heating system will heat even areas that don’t need heat, resulting in wasted energy.

Beyond Temperature Regulation

In addition to heating and cooling your home, your HVAC system also circulates the air, which can improve indoor air quality (IAQ). It also controls humidity levels. If you turn off your HVAC system entirely, you won’t have these benefits, so pay attention to how your home feels. If you notice unpleasant odors, when outdoor temperatures are mild enough, be sure to open windows or doors to let fresh air inside.

Using Your HVAC System

Freezing weather is extremely rare in Jacksonville, but it can get very cold at times. During these occasions, your furnace doesn’t just keep you warm and cozy, it also prevents your pipes from freezing. Burst pipes can result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, so you’re better off leaving the HVAC system on if lower temperatures appear in the forecast. In this case it is wise to use recommended thermostat settings so you provide just the right level of heating.

However, for mild winters, how you use your HVAC system will depend on the needs and preferences of occupants as well as characteristics specific to your home. Pay attention to the weather forecasts so you can know what to expect. Generally, weather patterns in our area will allow you to keep your system off for certain periods. On any given day, the best solution involves using your thermostat wisely.

If you are not sure about the best way to manage your HVAC system, consult the pros at Ocean State Air Conditioning & Heating at (904) 574-5619. We can provide the solutions and systems to help you to manage your energy bills and indoor comfort. Call us today!

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