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High utility bills? Your thermostat might be on the wrong wall

Proper thermostat placement can keep you comfier and save energy.


Don't let bad placement cost you.

Chris Monroe/CNET

You may be spending more on heating and cooling than you need to. Why? If your thermostat is in the wrong place it can raise your utility costs.

Proper thermostat placement can make your heating and cooling more energy efficient while still keeping you comfortable. Here's where to put it and why.

Where not to put your thermostat

The most important thing about thermostat placement is to avoid areas that can have temperature extremes, making your thermostat think that the room is a lot cooler or warmer than it actually is. For example, don't install your thermostat near doors that could let in drafts, windows that could shine hot rays of sun onto the thermostat or near a bathroom door that could let hot steam settle around the thermostat. Also, the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy advises against putting lamps or TV sets near your  thermostat since they put off heat that could confuse the device's sensors.

Exterior walls are also a no-go because they are often cooler than other walls in the home. The thermostat will think that this unusually cold or hot area represents the rest of the home and will kick on to cool or heat when it really doesn't need to.

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

Put your thermostat in a room that is one of the most used, on the interior wall, 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.

For the most energy savings and comfort, several linked thermostats throughout the home is ideal. If you're not comfortable with wiring, wireless thermostats are a great option.

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