The powerful grip that can save you money and improve your health

Autumn is approaching and electricity prices it doesn’t seem to stop increasing.

Most of our electricity consumption goes to space heating. 66% of electricity goes to this, according to the Norwegian Water and Energy Directorate (NVE).

You can therefore save a lot of electricity by lowering the home temperature.

– Summarizing for all 2.5 million households in Norway, a one degree lower indoor temperature will result in 1.2 TWh savings, corresponding to electricity consumption in a city the size of Drammen, says senior consultant from NVE, Dag Splide.

Power consumption decreases by approximately five percent for each degree of internal temperature drop.

Better comfort

And it’s not just the wallet that can benefit from turning the thermostat down a couple of degrees. In fact, it can have a positive effect on your overall condition.

– It can have a comfort advantage for many, says the director of the department of the Institute of Public Health, Johan Øvrevik.

RESEARCHER: Director of the Department of the Institute of Public Health, Johan Øvrevik. Photo: private

Low temperatures lead to less humidity. When outdoor air is drawn in in a warm indoor climate, the air can feel extremely dry, he explains.

The hotter it is, the drier the air.

– It can cause discomfort as the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes and upper respiratory tract become dry, says Øvrevik.

The air can also feel a little dusty, he explains. It can also lead to more static electricity.

Lower temperatures indoors can counteract this and can also affect so-called relative humidity. This was stated by Sintef senior researcher Sverre Bjørn Holøs.

– We think you will experience it cooler and maybe you will be less exposed to respiratory infections, if you lower the temperature a little, says Holøs.

COOLER: Autumn brings colder temperatures and less humidity outside.  Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

COOLER: Autumn brings colder temperatures and less humidity outside. Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

The Norwegian standard for the recommended indoor temperature in winter is 20-24 degrees Celsius.

But the vast majority don’t get sick by setting it even lower than this.

– You can also go down to 18-19 degrees and wear a wool sweater. It’s going well, says Øvrevik.

FHI further states that too high a temperature can lead to reduced well-being, fatigue and reduced performance.

Øvrevik points out that the comfortable indoor temperature varies from person to person.

Don’t refuse too much

There is, however, a limit. The World Health Organization advises against setting the indoor temperature below 18 degrees.

– We do not advise people to turn off the heating completely, says Johan Øvrevik.

FHI especially advises elderly people, and those with a generally precarious general condition, not to turn down the heating too much.

– What we mainly see in cold temperatures is an increase in respiratory infections. And then there’s an increase in mortality from cardiovascular disease, says Øvrevik.

ENERGY SAVING: While turning down the temperature is a good measure to save electricity, you shouldn't turn your heat down too much, according to FHI.  Photo: Sorosh Sadat / TV 2

ENERGY SAVING: While turning down the temperature is a good measure to save electricity, you shouldn’t turn your heat down too much, according to FHI. Photo: Sorosh Sadat / TV 2

Explain that when you are cold, the body compensates by narrowing the blood vessels in the fingers and hands to reduce heat loss. This causes blood to accumulate in a smaller volume of blood vessels.

– So blood pressure also increases and this can have unpleasant consequences for people with cardiovascular problems, says Øvrevik.

You should stay away from this

While lowering the internal temperature is a good way to reduce electricity consumption, not everything in the house should be tinkered with.

Initially the ventilation system and the hot water tank should be left alone.

– It’s bad advice to save by shelling all hatches and cutting the ventilation completely, says Holøs in Sintef.

Explain that there is a greater risk of condensation when it’s cold outside.

– If you don’t have reasonable air exchange, you’ll eventually get condensation, mold and a bad indoor climate, says Holøs.

This can have both health and financial consequences.

HUMIDITY DAMAGE: Condensation may form with poor ventilation.  It can be expensive to repair the damage caused by it.

HUMIDITY DAMAGE: Condensation may form with poor ventilation. It can be expensive to repair the damage caused by it.

Holøs also advises against overworking the hot water tank. It is therefore possible to run the risk of getting dangerous Legionella bacteria in the water.

– If you turn it off completely during the period, or leave it at 35-40 degrees, there is a possible legionella problem. So one should be very restrained with this, she says.

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