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Take control of your energy costs with a programmable thermostat

Typical Programmable Thermostat
Typical Programmable Thermostat
Honeywell Product Line

Many older homes are still not equipped with programmable thermostats today, while many others have them, but do not use them efficiently. A programmable thermostat can be your friend and save you money, if used in the right way. The proper use of a programmable thermostat in your home is the easiest way to conserve energy and save money.

Research has shown that for every degree you can raise the thermostat setting in summer or lower it in winter, you can save 2 to 10% on energy costs. I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve been in someone’s home during the winter where the inside temperature was near 80 degrees or 67 degrees in summer. These people stand to gain the most by modifying their heating and cooling life styles. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that your thermostat be set to 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer.

For best results:

Keep the temperature set at its energy savings set-point for long periods of time, at least for 8 hours.

Try to minimize (avoidance is best) periods of time where the temperature over- ride is engaged over the pre-programmed settings.

Cranking the HVAC unit up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees will not heat up or cool down a house any faster.

Programmable thermostats typically control a zone of a house, therefore multiple thermostats controlling separate HVAC units serving the upstairs and downstairs tends to maximize comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the entire house. What a programmable thermostat does is adjust your HVAC settings to match your lifestyle according to the schedule you set up. For heating purposes you cut the temperature back during the daytime hours when everyone is away at work or school and just before they return the program turns the heat back up to your prescribed comfort level. Such schedules can be set up for typical work days and varied on the weekends to coincide with more time spent at home.

There are three types of programmable thermostats; single day programmable, week and weekend programmable; and multi-day programmable. Generally the week and weekend programmable thermostats accommodate daily schedules, offer enough flexibility for most households, are easy to use, and are cost effective. These thermostats come in a range of features; some can even remind you to change out your air filters. Prices can range from about $60 to $300 per unit, and have a payback period from a few months to a year depending on house size, insulation levels, and occupant schedules. Once again, this is the easiest way to conserve energy and to save money.

Please contact me with ideas, subject matter, questions, or new technologies that you would like to see discussed in future editions. Saving tomorrow begins today.