Put Programmable Thermostats to Work for You
Programmable thermostats are one of the least expensive and simplest ways to conserve energy in your home year-round. Setting your thermostat around your family’s schedule will not only ensure your home is comfortable when occupied, but will save you money by helping you manage your energy use throughout the day.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY-STAR® program, proper use of a programmable thermostat with four pre-programmed settings can save the typical single-family home about $180 every year in energy costs. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of your programmable thermostat:
How to Get the Most out of a Programmable Thermostat:
1. Keep the temperature set at its energy savings set-points for at least eight hours at a time. Convenient times would be during the day when no one is at home, and through the night after everyone has gone to bed.
2. All thermostats let you override the temperature settings to temporarily make an area warmer or cooler without erasing the pre-set programming. However, keep in mind that you use more energy and will end up paying more on energy bills if you regularly override the pre-programmed settings.
3. Programmable thermostats typically have two types of temperature hold features: (a) hold/permanent/vacation; and (b) temporary. Avoid using the “permanent” feature to manage daily temperature settings during periods in which your home will be unoccupied. Your thermostat’s “temporary” features are designed for exactly these situations. Set this feature at an energy-saving temperature (several degrees cooler in the winter and several degrees warmer in the summer) for the period you will be away. You’ll waste both energy and money if you leave the “permanent” feature at your normal comfort setting while you’re away.
4. Avoid turning your thermostat way up in the winter or way down in the summer – it won’t bring your home to its comfort level any faster. Most thermostats begin to heat or cool at a set time, depending on the programmed settings, to reach set-point temperatures sometime thereafter.
5. Many homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has multiple heating or cooling zones, you’ll want a programmable thermostat for each zone to maximize comfort and energy savings throughout the house.
6. If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don’t forget to change them once a year.
A programmable thermostat makes it easier for you to save energy by giving you control of your home’s temperature without sacrificing comfort. By establishing a program that lets you manage heating and cooling precisely to your needs, you can realize more efficient energy use and significant savings.