Thermostat with Lower Minimum Temp

My current thermostat is a somewhat older, non-programmable one that only goes down to 60 degrees. This winter with the high oil prices, I want to have a thermostat that goes down to 50 degrees. Are most thermostats out there capable of being set as low as 50 degrees? Also, has anyone had experience keeping their house at this low a temp? If so, did you run into problems such as frozen pipes? Note: I use a woodstove, so when folks are at home it is fine without much heat from the furnace, but I'm more concerned about times when just the furnace is on.
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If its a round Honeywell or anyone of the older style mecury in a tube type, just adjust it out of level so that 60P it will take trial and error to get it right but that is the cheapest solution. The rest of the question is really up to your area and what kind of house you have slab/basement ect.. YMMV
Rich
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Rich wrote:

It is an old Sears lever type (not mercury), so I guess I'll look for a newer one. House is made of stone in NE PA.
Rob
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I've seen them as low as 45, but most seem to be about 55.

Depends on the house and where pipe are run. Pipes on outside walls are the ones at risk. At work we have a rather large multi-story building with different heat sources. My goal is not to freeze anything, but keep the temperature as low as possible as it in not inhabited except for a couple of warehouse workers. I shoot for 40 degrees. Two of the heaters are on timers. In most cases, it comes on for two two hour periods a day. In very cold weather, below 15F I'll run the boilers an extra couple of hours. Only once it was a problem with a sprinkler pipe that was near an outside wall when the heater failed on night. In my case, it is a risk/reward thing and is was minimal cost to repair the pipe. When you get a gas bill for January that approaches $20,000, you look to save what you can.
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Rob wrote:

If your furnace is under warranty, you may void it by keeping your house below 65 degrees.
I have a relative who replaced the furnaces in a duplex, one was rented and inhabited, the other used seasonally as an office. During winter he kept the temperature at 55 degrees. That furnace got a cracked manifold (cracked something, anyway) after 12 years; the other one is still working fine 5 years later.
The cold air return is part of the problem, though, so if you're careful where the input air is coming from ... well, it's your furnace.
I think you'll be able to save as much money by going hog-wild on insulation and weatherstripping.
I'm assuming the wood is free? Otherwise I've always understood that wood stoves are very expensive to run.
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Depends on where you live. A cord of wood is about 100 gallons of oil heat-wise. Right now, oil is $235 and wood is about $185 where I am, but $300+ 70 miles away in Boston. Woodstoves are a lot of work too.
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Dan Hartung wrote:

Yup, wood is free (well, free except for the cost for me in wear on the chainsaw, gas, and wear on my back splitting it)... lol
I'm interested from anyone who would comment in how common the problem that is cited above regarding the cold air return breaking when keeping heat set low is. I've known people with vacation homes who drain their pipes but still keep the furnace set low and I've never heard of that problem. Interesting.
As to insulation, that is not an option on most of my house, except for more being put in the attic. The house is an all masonry stone home, so there is no cavity in the outer walls for any insulation.
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A thermostat is cheap, only about $12 to $90. And there are only 3 to 4 color coded wires to hook up.
Just buy yourself a nice programable one with a battery back up for settings, on sale at Home Depot et al, for about $25-$45. And install it in about 20 mintues.
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bd

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