Do you ever feel like your heating and cooling bill could be significantly lower if you just remembered to turn down the thermostat? One of the biggest roadblocks to cutting back on the cost of your electric or gas bill is remembering to make simple changes on the thermostat throughout the day.
Rushing out the door to work in the morning may mean forgetting to turn your air conditioner back. Coming home exhausted means that turning the thermostat down is probably the last thing on your mind. Even if you know how important these simple steps are to saving money, they likely don’t make it onto your list of daily priorities. However, you can still implement some of these things without actively trying when you install a programmable thermostat.
If your HVAC professional recommended a programmable thermostat, it may be time to think about the long-term benefits and savings you could have.
What is a programmable thermostat?
You may be wondering what’s so special about a programmable thermostat. After all, doesn’t every thermostat allow you to set a consistent temperature in your home? In most homes with basic thermostats, you choose one consistent temperature for your HVAC system. From there, the thermostat helps to communicate your preferences.
With a programmable thermostat, you actually have the ability to set multiple temperatures for different times of day.
Many of these programmable options allow you to set four different temperatures each day. You can select one temperature for the morning, one for your time away from the home in the afternoon, an evening temperature, and a bedtime temperature. By prioritizing the times of day where you want to be most comfortable, you can seriously cut back on your heating and cooling bills.
What’s the best way to set a programmable thermostat?
If you make the decision to invest in a programmable thermostat, you may start to wonder how you can set it to give you the maximum savings. Finding a good rule of thumb for making your home more comfortable and energy efficient can help you to find the best starting place.
During the morning and evening hours after work, you can set your thermostat to a temperature where you feel comfortable. This is highly dependent upon your personal preferences, but you may want to consider placing it just a few degrees higher or lower than where you would ordinarily set it to see additional savings. These two settings should be the same on the thermostat.
Afternoon hours while you’re at work should feature a temperature roughly eight degrees different. In the summer, that means moving the thermostat from 72 degrees to 80 degrees. Wintertime means moving the temperature the opposite way, going from 72 degrees to 64 degrees. This daytime shift should account for roughly ten hours each day.
You’ll do the same to the temperature after your typical bedtime. Because your body is unconscious, you’re less likely to notice the temperature shift. Energy Star recommends a slightly different setup for bedtime, encouraging homeowners to set it up four degrees in the summer and turn it down eight degrees in the winter. The nighttime temperature should hold for at least eight hours to maximize your savings.
When you implement these basic thermostat adjustments, it’s estimated that a single-family home could see savings of up to $180 each year.
What if you have a large home?
If your HVAC system is organized into multiple zones, you will want to install a programmable thermostat into each zone. This gives you the maximum amount of control over the heating and cooling of your house. If you know that you come home at the same time every day but don’t spend any time upstairs until bedtime, consider allowing that zone to remain at the daytime setback temperature for a little longer.
You should consider taking some time to evaluate how you move throughout the home during the day. A zoned HVAC system with programmable thermostats may be a wise investment so that you can have a greater degree of control over the climate in your home. It can be easily found at any air conditioning company.
Can a programmable thermostat be changed?
You aren’t tied to the same temperatures all the time. Many models will allow you to override set temperatures for a specific period of time. This is particularly useful if you spend more time at home one day or are having guests over for dinner. Remember that you don’t want to override the thermostat too frequently or you’ll ruin your chances at savings each month.
Newer models are also better able to integrate with your other forms of technology. They can be synced with your smartphone, tablet, or computer so that you can change the temperature from anywhere. Monitor the temperature in your home from your desk at work or from a beach house three states away. Homeowners have far more control with these advances in technology.
How soon can you start saving?
While there is an initial cost investment to purchasing a thermostat and having it professionally installed, you’ll start to see savings almost immediately. Your first electric or gas bill can demonstrate just how effective altering the temperatures can be at saving you money.
A professional HVAC technician can walk through all of the options with you to help choose the right make and model. Models range from very basic to advanced options with high-tech features that work seamlessly with your technology. You may even want to discuss if your home could benefit from different zoning systems to run the HVAC system more efficiently.
It’s simple to receive a price quote on these changes in your home, even though it does mean an initial investment. The cost of the investment is well worth it when you consider how much money you may save over the years.