Can informed use of a programmable thermostat make a difference in energy costs? Nearly 10 percent of the total energy consumption of the U.S. is controlled by cumulative settings on residential cooling and heating thermostats. However, surveys show many people aren’t reaping the 5 to 15 percent energy savings the Department of Energy says they could be, simply because they aren’t utilizing the device correctly or fully.
First, you need to determine the type of programmable thermostat you need. The most common types include:
After you’ve got the unit that best fits your household’s needs, remember these guidelines for smart usage.
Maximum Energy Savings
Better energy savings are realized by maintaining temperature settings at consistent levels for long spans of time. When possible, program a single temperature for the eight-hour overnight sleeping hours and another for the long daytime period when people are out of the house.
Instead of erasing programmed settings to temporarily alter temperatures, simply use the unit’s “Override” function. But don’t overuse it. Every time you deviate from programmed settings, you lose ground in energy savings. Overriding programmed temperatures and manually cranking the thermostat down or up has no effect on cooling or heating a house faster. Your system always operates at its rated BTU capacity, no matter the thermostat setting.
During winter, use 68 degrees as the benchmark setting for “at home and awake” hours. Overnight or while you’re away, set it back to 58 degrees. In summer, make 78 degrees the setting for waking hours. Either program it for 88 degrees while you’re gone or, better yet, turn the A/C off while you’re away — then set it to turn back on an hour before you come home so the house will be pre-cooled.
For more advice on getting the full benefit of a programmable thermostat, contact Powers Heating & Air in Peachtree City.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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