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The Best and Worst Places to Install a Thermostat if You Care About Your Electric Bill

Turns out there is a wrong place to put your thermostat -- and changing the location can save you money.

Amazon Thermostat set to 73 degrees Fahrenheit
Changing where you put your thermostat could lead to year-round savings.
Chris Monroe/CNET

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

If you want to make a dent in your utility bills, you might consider things like taking shorter showers, adjusting your thermostat, turning off your lights or grabbing some smart devices. There's even an easy ceiling fan hack that can save money cooling down your house. But if you haven't considered the location of your thermostat, you could be leaving money on the table.

Why? Because the right thermostat location can actually save you money on your utility bills year-round. Plus, proper thermostat placement can make your heating and cooling more energy efficient while still keeping you comfortable. Here's the best -- and worst -- places to put your thermostat. 

Read also: Does Unplugging Appliances Really Save Electricity And Money?

Here's where you shouldn't put your thermostat

The most important thing about thermostat placement is to avoid areas that experience temperature extremes, making your thermostat think that the room is a lot cooler or warmer than it actually is. After all, your thermostat is there to keep you comfortable.

Don't install your thermostat near doors that could let in drafts, in direct sunlight by windows or near a bathroom door that could frequently be warm and steamy. Also, the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy advises against putting lamps or TV sets near your thermostat since they release heat that could confuse the device's sensors. It's likely a good idea to keep your thermostat out of the kitchen for that reason, too.

Exterior walls are also a no-go because they are often cooler than other walls in the home. Any of these less-than-ideal spots for a thermostat could trick it into cooling or heating when it really doesn't need to, using up precious energy and money.

Some thermostats are put in rooms or hallways that are rarely used. This isn't a great idea either, because the thermostat won't be reading the temperature of the area you actually want to heat or cool. This can leave you sitting in a room that is uncomfortably warm or cold.

The best thermostat location in your house

Put your thermostat on the interior wall of a highly-trafficked for the best results. If you have a smart thermostat, be sure that it is unobstructed by doors, bookshelves or decorations so that its sensors can work properly. Also, make sure that your smart thermostat is in range of your Wi-Fi so that it can stay connected to your account.

As always, consult an HVAC professional if you have questions about your home's wiring. For smart thermostat installation basics, start here.

Looking to purchase a new thermostat? Check out our guide to finding the right thermostat for your home and the best smart thermostats of the year