When Should You Turn On Your Furnace For The Season?

In some households, there is a debate each fall. When is the right time to turn on the furnace? Fall is tricky because it brings summertime temperatures one day and mornings in the 40s the next. For many, turning on the furnace means that it's on for the duration of the winter season and will trigger the start of those cold-weather energy bills. Taking these factors into consideration, when should you turn on the furnace?

Penny Pinchers

When you get a cold morning or two, you may not turn on the furnace, opting instead for dressing warmly and getting out a space heater. This strategy may save you a few dollars on your heating bill, particularly if you only heat one or two rooms in the chilly mornings. In fact, some people keep their thermostat quite low all winter, choosing to have a warm zone or two rather than having the entire house stay warm. If you are a person who refuses to turn your furnace on at all until November or later, using a space heater may work for you. Of course, if you have a few cold-blooded family members, you may be setting the stage for constant conflict. 

Comfort Lovers

For other folks, turning on the furnace has nothing to do with the date. When the mornings and evenings get chilly, they turn on the furnace without agonizing over the decision. If that means cranking up the heat at the end of September for a day or two, they will do it. If you keep the furnace set at a reasonable temperature, 70 degrees or less, the furnace will not kick on until it gets chilly, anyway. Of course, you need to have someone inspect your furnace for the season first—otherwise, you are asking for difficulties. On that first day that you decide to turn on the heat, do not set the temperature high to quickly heat your house. It won't warm up any faster, and you'll only put unnecessary strain on your furnace. You'll just have to huddle under the covers and exercise patience until things warm up.

In some homes, the decision to turn on the furnace is an emotional one. You may see it as the official end of moderate temperatures and the beginning of a long, cold winter. You can economically warm your home while postponing turning on the furnace by creating heat zones. If you simply can't stand the cold, however, you can turn it on as soon as it has been serviced.