Ask Anthony: Winter Heating and Thermostat 101

Ask Anthony!

Professional (and super-cool, I might add) handyman Anthony Gilardi, of HGTV's Myles of Style, is back. He'll be stopping by CafeMom's Home & Garden Buzz every other week with answers to your home repair questions. You CafeMoms are so lucky!

So go ahead. Ask Anthony your home repair questions.

This week, Anthony answers my question about winter heating and my space heater addiction and tells us how the thermostat works.


Q: I'd love some tips for keeping heating costs down. More specifically, is it cost effective to run a space heater in one room rather than heating the whole house? I work from home, and during the day, I keep the thermostat low and use a small space heater in my office. Is this a good idea?
Cafe Sheri

Interesting move. I see what you’re trying to do. However, space heaters, even small ones, use up a ton of electricity. And forget about gas/propane heaters—too dangerous. It would actually be more costs effective to raise the thermostat slightly higher and heat the entire house at the same time.

Quick tip on how thermostats work: Very simple. There is a thermometer gage that turns on the heating unit when the inside temperature drops below the setting. When the room levels off at that temperature, the heating unit will shut off to save power.

Here’s the problem, in keeping your thermostat setting low and just heating one room at a time. The “house temperature” will never level off; therefore, the heating unit will keep running constantly. Meaning you are running your main heating system as well as the electricity cow space heater at the same time.

Most modern thermostats have a setting called “comfort zone” or “level zone”. Whatever the manufacturer names this zone it is usually in the mid sixties.

My suggestion: Maintain the entire house at this temperature zone and let the system do it’s job.

TIP: If you find that some rooms are warmer than others, or some rooms are not warming up at all, you need to service the system immediately.

Bottom line, when your heating system works properly, it will be more cost effective, and you should not need space heaters.

For more “Winterizing Tips” visit my blog at:

Thank you.

Thanks, Anthony.

+++ Ask Anthony your home repair questions in the comments below. He'll be back in two weeks with to answer one of them!

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