Q- On cold days when I leave home, won’t it save more energy if I turn off the heat completely versus just turning it down?
Yes, turning your heat completely off saves more energy than turning it down. But we recommend 60 degrees as an energy-saving setback at bedtime or when you’re away from home for more than a few hours. Why don’t we say to turn it off? Because if you turn off the heat regularly, there is the potential you could end up with moisture or mold problems in your house, depending on insulation levels, the type of windows and other factors. You also have a greater risk of ending up with frozen pipes during really cold periods. That’s why PGE generally recommends 60 degrees as a set back that saves energy while helping avoid those other problems.
Exceptions to the rule: If you have ceiling cable heat, the maximum setback is 2 to 3 degrees. Heat pump systems vary.
Also, it’s good to keep in mind that, if you turn the heat completely off, it will take longer to get the temperature back up to your comfort zone when you return home.