You have a new heating and air conditioning unit humming away in your home. You've had the duct system cleaned, the window and door seals replaced, and you avoid setting your thermostat temperature too low or too high. But your energy bills are still on the high side. One answer to this frustrating scenario is to have a programmable thermostat installed. It will maximize your HVAC system's efficiency and keep you comfortable while helping decrease operating costs. Below is a brief description of these thermostats, tips on getting the most out of these devices, and three different programming models on the market.
Programmable Thermostats Described
On a regular thermostat, you usually change the setting whenever the inside temperature is not to your liking. A programmable thermostat allows you to input multiple settings that will change throughout the day. For example, if you normally leave for work at 7 am and don't get home until after 5 pm, you can program the thermostat so your air HVAC system runs less during the day. You can then set the "turn on" time so that the house is comfortable when you arrive home. According to Energy Star, an organization that certifies energy efficient appliances, you can save roughly $180 per year in energy costs by switching to a programmable thermostat.
Getting the Most Out of Your Programmable Thermostat
Having a professional install your programmable thermostat is the best way to insure maximum efficiency and savings. Your heating and air conditioning contractor will know that the thermostat shouldn't be installed near heating or cooling registers, or vents, in places that get direct sunlight or that are subject to drafts. Below are some money saving steps you can take on your own.
- Set the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures at bedtime as well as for when you are out of the house.
- Programmable thermostats have a "hold" button. This overrides the usual programs and puts the device into energy saving mode while you are gone for longer periods, such as for business trips or vacations.
- Try to resist overriding your settings. Using more energy means a higher energy bill. Get the family on board so they know to leave well enough alone.
- If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don't forget to change them regularly. Some units have low battery indicators, similar to those steady beeps put out by smoke detectors that need attention. If you change your smoke alarm batteries at the spring and fall solstices, add your thermostat to the list.
Three Different Programmable Models
In addition to having digital or analog readouts, you can choose the thermostat model that best suits your schedule. Figure out how often you, and your family, are away from home and then choose from three basic types.
Seven-Day Schedule Thermostats
The seven-day thermostats tend to work best for families where the parents have a work schedule and the children tend to have a staggered school schedule. The device allows you to set different programs for each day. For example, if your son has football practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and gets home later those days, the thermostat can be programmed to reflect this.
Weekday and Weekend Schedule Thermostats
These thermostats differentiate the workday schedule from the weekend schedule. This model works if you and your family have roughly the same schedule during the week and a similar one on the weekends.
Weekday, Saturday and Sunday Schedule Thermostats
Similar to the previous model, this thermostat works for those with the same weekday schedule but with differing schedules on Saturday and Sunday. For example, if you spend most of Saturday on the golf course but the rest of the family is usually home until later in the morning, you can program your system to accommodate both scenarios.
For more information and options, talk with professional HVAC contractors, such as those at Bryant Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical & Plumbing.