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Using Programmable Thermostats to Stay Cool and Save Energy

Posted on in Articles

While the Beaumont climate makes your home HVAC system indispensable through much of the year, running a furnace or air conditioner 24/7 can take a toll on your energy bills and on the HVAC system. Setting the temperatures back when you're away from home or tucked in bed is a proven energy-saving strategy, but resetting the thermostat multiple times a day can be a hassle for even the most diligent homeowner. Programmable thermostats offer energy savings by taking care of the temperature set points for you. But you need to know how to use them to get the best savings out of them.

Using Programmable Thermostats Efficiently

programmable thermostatsProgrammable thermostats will save you the most when they're set for long periods of time; eight hours or more is recommended. Many households have two convenient eight-hour windows when the full force of the HVAC system isn't needed: the typical work day and overnight when the household is asleep. By setting the thermostat back over those two periods, you can reduce your energy use over two-thirds of the day. And when you think about it in those terms, it's no wonder most households over-spend on their energy use.

Handle Schedule Changes Correctly

There will be days when your household schedule changes. Maybe a family member is home sick from work, or perhaps you're leaving on vacation. When this happens, don't reprogram the thermostat; you'll have to remember to program it back to normal when the interruption is done and you may forget. Instead, become familiar with your thermostat's "override" and "vacation/hold" features.

The override feature lets you specify a new temperature to set your home to for the current time period. If your thermostat reduces the cooling for eight hours during a work day, you can tell it to retain a more comfortable temperature, and return to its normal schedule at the next set point when you'd usually get home from work. After that, it will continue on as normal.

The vacation feature will hold your home at an energy-saving temperature for a longer period of time. Depending on the model, this may be a set period of days, or it may be until you disengage the hold. Then it will re-adopt the program you set to manage your household heating and cooling.

Sometimes it does make sense to reprogram your thermostat. For example, if you have school-age kids who will be home during the summer holidays, you may set your summer cooling schedule different from the school year's schedule. The key is to make sure your scheduled presets serve you for a long period of time.

Get the Model Right for Your Household

Programmable thermostats come in a wide range of styles. Some things you may want to consider are:

  • Is the thermostat battery-powered or does it hook into your home's electrical system?
  • What are the scheduling options? Some thermostats only allow you to set one schedule for weekdays and one for weekends (5+2 model). Others allow you to set different schedules for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays (5+1+1 model). Some let you set a schedule for every day of the week (7-day model). Choose the one that best accommodates your household's schedule.
  • Do you want a smart thermostat? Some models of thermostat have WiFi connectivity, which lets you check in on your home remotely. Other programmable thermostat models will learn your schedule and automatically adjust after you set them a few times, or they will use motion sensors to detect when you're away for a long period and automatically set the home into vacation mode. Some programmable thermostats include temperature anticipation which allows you to program when you want your home to reach a desired temperature, rather than when you want your HVAC system to turn on.

Learn more about how useful programmable thermostats can be, as well as Thermacon Service Company's thermostat solutions, or give us a call at 866-797-1535 to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted HVAC professionals.

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