Should I Buy a Programmable Thermostat?

As we prepare for what is sure to be another cold winter, many homeowners become concerned. With energy costs at an all time high, heating your home can be especially costly. How can you keep your home comfortable without going broke?  While there are several great solutions to help you cut down on energy consumption, installing a programmable thermostat is a great place to start.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy website (www.energysavers.gov), if homeowners set their thermostats back 10 – 15 degrees for at least eight hours each day, they can see an annual savings of around 10%. Installing and using a programmable thermostat makes this easy to do.  When it is estimated that the average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills – nearly half of which goes towards heating or cooling your home, using a programmable thermostat is a no-brainer.

The thermostat(s) inside your home play a significant role in ensuring your HVAC unit runs smoothly and you are comfortable. With a programmable thermostat, you can reduce the demand placed on your heating and cooling units by allowing the temperature settings to rise or lower automatically, depending on the heating or cooling needs of the season and requirements of the activities in the zone being controlled. Any time you place less demand on your heating or cooling unit you are using less energy, and in turn, less money.

While programmable thermostats are designed to be customized, because of their famed “set it and forget it” benefit, people who are regularly away from home during set times throughout the week are ideal candidates for using a programmable thermostat.

Choosing a Programmable Thermostat

With several models available, it important to consider your comfort needs and schedule before purchasing a thermostat. Programmable thermostats come in three different models: 7-day, 5+2 day, and 5-1-1 models.

7-Day Model
This model is great for persons with an irregular schedule. With a seven-day setting, you can customize your comfort settings fore each day of the week. For example, if you have a fluctuating work schedule and the time you leave and return home from work on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday is different from Friday and Saturday, you can create separate temperature schedules for each of those days - as well as your days off.

5+2 Model
For those with a fairly regular schedule, a 5+2 model works great. You can program your thermostat for Monday through Friday and keep a separate setting for Saturday and Sunday.

5-1-1 Model
This model is similar to the 5+2 model, only instead of the same setting for your weekends, you can program Saturday and Sunday separately.

Energy-saving benefits
The more you set back, the more you save.  During the heating season, decrease your set point by 8 degrees during periods of inactivity or absence. During the cooling season, increase your set point by 7 degrees during periods of absence, and 4 degrees during activity.

Other Considerations

  • Do bear in mind if your pipes are susceptible to freezing during extremely cold weather, you should correct the problem before setting back.
  • It’s best to locate your thermostat away from any device or area considered exceptionally warm or cool such as appliances, vents, registers or windows. Doing so can throw off the accuracy of the device.
  • Remember that although the programmable thermostat is a great way to help you save energy and cut costs, addressing other areas of your heating and cooling system should be done, too.

When it comes to saving on energy costs, programmable thermostats are a great way to go. It’s also a good idea to consult with a professional on how to optimize efficiency during your next maintenance visit.  

Have questions? Ask an expert online or contact us today.

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