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Jun202011

Programmable Thermostats Keeps Things Cool

A programmable thermostat can be an energy-saver, because family members can adjust the heating and cooling system to operate according to a pre-set schedule, As a result, the HVAC equipment can run at more energy-efficient rates during times when residents are away at work or school, asleep or when a house is not occupied during vacation periods.

In the past, common wisdom suggested that maintaining a constant temperature was better than adjusting a thermostat up and down. In actuality, turning a thermostat down or up a degree or more will always save energy (and money). The closer the inside air temperature is to the outside air temperature, the less heat or air-conditioning will be lost via heat transference (the principle that heat moves from hot to cold). Thus, by heating or cooling the air less, less energy (and money) is required.

How much money can be saved? According to the government's Energy Star calculator, as much as a $200 savings per year can be realized in a single-family home. On average, a homeowner will save three percent on their energy bill for every degree a thermostat is set back.

Some of the features that are available in many programmable thermostats are: digital, backlit displays; touch pad screen programming; voice and/or phone programming; hold/vacation features; indicators that signal malfunctioning HVAC systems; and smart recovery features which sense the time it will take to reach the next set-point temperature and react accordingly.

There are models for a variety of schedules, including a 7-day, 5+2-day or a 5-1-1-day. Seven day models are best if daily schedules change often - for example, if family members are at home earlier on some days than others. This type of thermostat provides the most flexibility, and allows for different programs for different days -- usually with at least four possible temperature periods per day. Five plus two day models use the same schedule every weekday and another for weekends, while five plus one plus one models keep separate schedules Monday through Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday.

Most programmable thermostats use low voltage wiring and can be installed using wires connecting the old thermostat for operation. It’s a good idea to upgrade an old manual thermostat to a programmable unit when replacing a central air conditioning unit or heating system because they are more accurate and will improve the efficiency of any new system.

Finally, most homes use just one thermostat to control the entire house. If a home has multiple heating or cooling zones, a programmed setback thermostat for each zone can help improve comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the house. While temperature should be set for individual comfort, here are suggested guidelines. In winter, a thermostat setting of 68°F while family members are awake and lower when they are asleep will keep energy costs down. In summer, setting the thermostat at 78°F when a home is unoccupied, and slightly cooler when family members are present will also result in energy savings. During vacation periods, the “hold” setting can be used to set the thermostat at a constant, energy efficient temperature. It can be set to a high temperature (85°F or slightly higher) rather than completely turning off the AC off in the warmer months. In colder weather, it can be set a lower temperature (55°F) so that water pipes don’t freeze. 

A programmable thermostat can be an energy-saver, because family members can adjust the heating and cooling system to operate according to a pre-set schedule, As a result, the HVAC equipment can run at more energy-efficient rates during times when residents are away at work or school, asleep or when a house is not occupied during vacation periods.

In the past, common wisdom suggested that maintaining a constant temperature was better than adjusting a thermostat up and down. In actuality, turning a thermostat down or up a degree or more will always save energy (and money). The closer the inside air temperature is to the outside air temperature, the less heat or air-conditioning will be lost via heat transference (the principle that heat moves from hot to cold). Thus, by heating or cooling the air less, less energy (and money) is required.

How much money can be saved? According to the government's Energy Star calculator, as much as a $200 savings per year can be realized in a single-family home. On average, a homeowner will save three percent on their energy bill for every degree a thermostat is set back.

Some of the features that are available in many programmable thermostats are: digital, backlit displays; touch pad screen programming; voice and/or phone programming; hold/vacation features; indicators that signal malfunctioning HVAC systems; and smart recovery features which sense the time it will take to reach the next set-point temperature and react accordingly.

There are models for a variety of schedules, including a 7-day, 5+2-day or a 5-1-1-day. Seven day models are best if daily schedules change often - for example, if family members are at home earlier on some days than others. This type of thermostat provides the most flexibility, and allows for different programs for different days -- usually with at least four possible temperature periods per day. Five plus two day models use the same schedule every weekday and another for weekends, while five plus one plus one models keep separate schedules Monday through Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday.

Most programmable thermostats use low voltage wiring and can be installed using wires connecting the old thermostat for operation. It’s a good idea to upgrade an old manual thermostat to a programmable unit when replacing a central air conditioning unit or heating system because they are more accurate and will improve the efficiency of any new system.

Finally, most homes use just one thermostat to control the entire house. If a home has multiple heating or cooling zones, a programmed setback thermostat for each zone can help improve comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the house. While temperature should be set for individual comfort, here are suggested guidelines. In winter, a thermostat setting of 68°F while family members are awake and lower when they are asleep will keep energy costs down. In summer, setting the thermostat at 78°F when a home is unoccupied, and slightly cooler when family members are present will also result in energy savings. During vacation periods, the “hold” setting can be used to set the thermostat at a constant, energy efficient temperature. It can be set to a high temperature (85°F or slightly higher) rather than completely turning off the AC off in the warmer months. In colder weather, it can be set a lower temperature (55°F) so that water pipes don’t freeze.

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