Saving energy with thermostat adjustments: myth or reality?

In the quest to reduce energy consumption and save on bills, a common question arises among many Belgian households: Does lowering the thermostat really lead to significant energy savings? This article delves into the nuances of energy conservation through thermostat management, exploring how small changes can make a big difference.


The Impact of Lowering the Thermostat

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that the effectiveness of lowering your thermostat depends on factors such as your home’s insulation and your personal comfort preferences. Generally, decreasing the set temperature by just one degree can reduce your energy consumption by about 7%. During the recent energy crisis, it was recommended not to heat homes to more than 19°C to conserve energy.

What About When You’re Away?

Similarly, it’s wise to lower your heating when you’re not at home. For instance, setting the thermostat to 16°C is advisable when you’re out for the day. For longer absences, such as a few days, lowering it further to 14°C is beneficial. Keeping the heating on, albeit at a lower temperature, prevents the need for a significant power surge when it’s turned back on. For extended absences spanning several weeks, setting your radiators to ‘frost protection’ mode will prevent the temperature in your home from dropping below 8°C, avoiding the risks associated with freezing.

Monitoring the Weather

Keeping an eye on the weather forecast can also help you manage your heating more efficiently. On warmer days, you might be able to turn off your central heating completely and only restart it in the early evening if necessary. However, during extremely cold spells, it’s better to keep your radiators on and just lower the thermostat a few degrees to avoid a consumption spike upon reactivation.

Don’t Neglect Boiler Maintenance

The importance of maintaining your central heating system, particularly your boiler, cannot be overstated. Around 25% of households tend to overlook this aspect, leading to an increase in their energy bills by nearly 25%. Regular maintenance ensures that your heating system operates efficiently and can help prevent costly repairs.

Electric Radiators vs. Central Heating Systems

While electric radiators may be less expensive initially compared to conventional central heating systems (like gas, pellet, wood, oil boilers, or heat pumps), their operating costs are generally higher. In the long term, it’s more economical to avoid equipping your home solely with electric radiators.

Additional Energy-Saving Tips

Thermostat Programming: Use programmable thermostats to adjust temperatures according to your daily schedule, reducing energy waste when you’re not at home.

Insulation Upgrades: Improving your home’s insulation can significantly reduce the need for heating, thereby lowering your energy consumption.

Smart Heating Solutions: Consider investing in smart heating solutions, such as smart thermostats, which can learn your preferences and adjust settings automatically for optimal energy use.

Window Treatments: Use curtains and blinds effectively to keep heat in during the night and allow natural warming during sunny days.


Managing your thermostat wisely is a key strategy in reducing your energy consumption and saving on bills. While it’s a part of a broader approach to energy efficiency, thermostat adjustments can have a meaningful impact. By combining these changes with good insulation, regular maintenance, and smart heating practices, you can achieve a comfortable, energy-efficient home environment.