These days, with all of the e-mails, texts, pings, and alerts constantly vying for our attention, any shortcut to simplify our busy lives can go a long way—especially if it’s saving not only time, but money, too. If you aren’t already using a programmable thermostat to help save on cooling and heating costs, you’re missing out. The energy savings they provide can make your home up to 15% more efficient, and that means a considerable slash to your energy bills throughout the year.
What it Does
Programmable thermostats give you control over the temperature of your home at multiple times a day. You can essentially set your home to be a certain temperature at night while you sleep, a different temperature during the day when you aren’t home, and yet another temperature when you make it home from work up until bed time. With this level of control over your home’s heating and cooling systems, it’s easy to lower your temperature during the winter when you aren’t there, and to raise it during the summer when you aren’t around, reducing unnecessary energy and saving yourself from high energy bills in the meantime.
Most programmable thermostats will give you around six different temperature settings for every day of the week. Some are even more adjustable, and some are less, but either way you’ll have plenty of control over your daily temperatures.
Check Your Existing Thermostat
If you don’t play around with your thermostat very much, it’s possible that you have a programmable thermostat and you don’t even realize it. To make sure this isn’t the case, go through the settings on your device and make sure that you can’t set the temperature for different times of the day. If you do have the ability to do so, then you already have a smart thermostat, and you can begin adjusting it to save you some money on heating and cooling costs. If you don’t have that level of control, you’ll have to consider having one put in.
Having it Installed
If you want to take advantage of the extra savings that a programmable thermostat can provide you with, you have to have one installed in your home. You can choose to complete the installation yourself if you’re comfortable tampering with your home’s wiring, and if you don’t mind working with your hands and you have at least some basic tools at home. If you aren’t sure how to shut off your home’s power at the breaker box, and you’ve never spliced or soldered wires together, you are probably better off having a professional complete the installation for you.
Get in touch with an installation professional who can help you with your new thermostat. When you purchase the device from hardware stores, they will sometimes offer to put them in for you for a fee. If not, you can call up a local electrician or HVAC tech and see if they can complete the installation for you. In most cases, either professional can do the work and get a programmable thermostat up and running.
When configured properly, programmable thermostats can save a homeowner a decent amount of money. Simply adjusting a thermostat to run between 7 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than normal for eight hours a day can cut down on heating costs by up to 10%. That’s a major difference for anyone concerned with cutting costs to be thrilled about!
Not for Heat Pumps
Unfortunately, if you rely on heat pumps to warm or cool your home, you can’t make use of a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs. A programmable thermostat will actually make a heat pump less efficient, and could end up costing you more than it saves you.
Setting the Thermostat
To make the most of a programmable thermostat, it’s important to really think about your home usage before you set it up. Start with your sleep pattern. If you enjoy sleeping at a cooler temperature, it makes sense to have the temperature drop a few hours before bedtime so your home has time to cool off before you climb under the sheets. Once you have it set for your sleep pattern, consider any time that the house is unoccupied for more than four hours. Those time blocks also offer an opportunity to save on heating and cooling expenses. Adjust the thermostat to take advantage of any open blocks you have available.
Network Controlled Thermostats
Today’s thermostats come with more capabilities than older models do. Not only is it possible to pick up a thermostat that can be programmed for different parts of the day, but it’s also possible to control these devices using computers and smartphones. Many thermostats will connect to a WiFi Internet connection and allow the owner to adjust the settings right through their smartphone or computer. This makes programming the device easier and more convenient. Imagine how nice it’d be to come home to a cozy, pre-warmed home on a cold winter night, or how much you’ll save by turning your cooling system down when you’re unexpectedly stuck on vacation for an extra day.
Investing in a programmable thermostat could save you and your family considerably—that is if you’re willing to make use of it regularly. If you rely on it to adjust your home temperature up and down to a more efficient range at least part of the day, you’ll be making an investment that’s sure to pay off over the long term.