One of the best ways to save on your heating and cooling costs and to help the ailing environment is to have a programmable thermostat in your home. Programmable thermostats offer you features by which you can set the heat or air to go on and off at different times of the day or night. For example, if you will be at work all day, you can set your heat to a low temperature and then set it to increase to a warmer temperature just before you are about to return home. You can do the same thing for the nighttime: Set the thermostat low for when you are sleeping (warm pajamas and a great blanket should do the trick!) and then to warm up as you awaken. Programmable thermostats have definitely proven to be more accurate and convenient than manual thermostats. Find an HVAC contractor to help you select the best programmable thermostat for your home.
Did you know that the average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills? Nearly half of that goes to heating and cooling: That is a tremendous amount of money and energy being used. You can save about $180 a year by properly setting your programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings. It can be quite shocking at first to realize the simple and inexpensive steps you can take to save on energy and reduce your utility bills. In addition to saving energy, ventilation can be programmed into the thermostat's settings to provide fresh air to the house at important times.
Choosing a Programmable Thermostat
There are many programmable thermostats on the market today. Your best bet is to buy one with the government's Energy Star approval on it. This certification means that it is an energy-efficient thermostat. Learn more about Energy Star and programmable thermostats.
At the very least, you should look for a programmable thermostat with the following features:
- Digital and backlit displays
- Touchpad screen
- Hold-vacation settings
Some programmable thermostats come with great additional features including:
- Voice or phone programming
- Indicators that tell you when it's time to change air filters
- Low battery warning
- Adaptive recovery/smart recovery features: control features that sense the amount of time it will take to reach the next set-point temperature, and reach desired temperatures by the set time
- An energy monitor that can keep track of how many hours the HVAC system has run for any selected time period
Popular Types of Thermostats
There are several common thermostat models that are particularly popular today. These are the 7-day models, the 5 + 2 day models and the 5-1-1 day models. The 7-day model is ideal for families that have changing schedules. This thermostat allows you to make the most changes and program settings. The 5 + 2 model uses one schedule for weekdays and another for weekends. The 5-1-1 models are best if you tend to keep one schedule from Monday through Friday and another schedule on Saturdays and Sundays. The best way to decide is to really take a look at your family's schedule and your heating and cooling preferences. Most good programmable thermostats cost about $200. The savings of a year or two will quickly offset the expense of purchasing and installing your thermostat.
Make sure to have your thermostat installed properly by a professional HVAC contractor.