Many homeowners wonder if a programmable thermostat is worth the investment. Everyone has heard that these thermostats are supposed to provide a significant reduction in energy usage, thereby allowing homeowners to save money on their heating and cooling bills. However, for the average homeowner, is there really a big enough savings to justify the expense of a new programmable thermostat?
The answer depends on how you use your thermostat. Homeowners who are willing to take the necessary steps to learn how to use their new programmable thermostat properly will certainly benefit from the energy savings. For example, the following steps can be beneficial in increasing the energy saving benefits of your programmable thermostat:
• Find at least 8 hours each day where you can deviate from your regular set-point. This can be during the day when everyone is at work or school, or it could be at night when you’re asleep.
• Don’t try to make rapid changes in temperature.
• Limit how often you manually override the setting on your programmable thermostat. This type of practice can significantly increase the energy used by your HVAC system.
• If you have a heating and cooling system with multiple zones, it is important to install a programmable thermostat for each separate zone. Multiple thermostats can help keep your home comfortable while also saving energy.
• Your thermostat should be placed away from heating and cooling equipment and should be located in a spot that won’t result in false temperature readings. For example, don’t place your thermostat in direct sunlight, by a drafty window or next to a fireplace.
• When you’re going to be away from home, even for a couple of days, be sure to use your thermostat’s “vacation” feature. This will ensure your home remains a safe temperature, while not wasting energy by keeping it at a temperature that would be necessary for comfort when you are at home.
• If you have a programmable thermostat that uses batteries, be sure they are replaced every year.
Programmable thermostats are generally very affordable and offer an excellent way to reduce energy bills; however, it is important to use your thermostat properly for maximum energy savings.