According to Energy Star, the average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills? Additionally, homeowners spend about 50% of their energy costs on heating and cooling needs. Fortunately, programmable thermostats help maintain energy consumption, which helps save about $180 a year by properly setting and maintaining a programmable thermostat. In particular, regions (like the Capital District) with especially hot or cold weather can really benefit financially from a programmable thermostat. For example, Charles Edge from the Huffington Post shares his experience with programmable thermostats!
“The biggest money saver for many is likely to be a smart thermostat. Controlling lights with an app is awesome. But for most, especially in areas where the temperature can get extra cold or extra hot, you can actually save a pretty big chunk of change by simply replacing a thermostat. I went from spending almost $500 per month when I first moved to Minnesota from Los Angeles, to spending less than $200. That’s right, about a two week positive return on that investment, that continues paying itself off, month after month. My first automated thermostat was a generic Z-wave. These days, I use the Nest, as I like how it integrates with dozens of cloud services.”
So, what exactly is a programmable thermostat?
Simple. Programmable thermostats maintain the desired temperatures throughout the day in your home or office building via programmed settings that take effect at various times during the day and night.
A standard thermostat simply senses the temperature of a home or office and measures/controls the temperature within your home (or any indoor location). Conversely, a programmable thermostat does the same and more than a conventional thermostat.
Additionally, programmable or digital thermostats offer offer more versatility.
“For example, [digital thermostats] commonly allow setting temperatures for two, four, or six periods each day, and rather than being limited to a single “hotter” temperature and a single “colder” temperature, digital thermostats usually allow each period to be set to a unique temperature. [Digital thermostats] commonly label the periods as “Morning”, “Day”, “Evening”, and “Night”, although nothing constrains the time intervals involved. Digital thermostats usually allow the user to override the programmed temperature for the period, automatically resuming programmed temperatures when the next period begins. A function to “hold” (lock-in) the current temperature is usually provided as well; in this case, the override temperature is maintained until the user cancels the hold or a programmed event occurs to resume the normal program.”
Finally, most of the leading programmable thermostats contain separate programs for heating and cooling, along with other common functionality that includes:
- Digital (or manual) switch to turn on the furnace blow (for increased air circulation).
- Running the circulating fan (in the event of a heating or cooling issue).
- Reminders to change the air filter.
- Internet connectivity (or smart thermostat).
How does a programmable thermostat help save money?
Programmable thermostats include pre-programmed settings, which help regulate temperatures. For example, homeowners must leverage the pre-programmed settings, which maintains the desired temperatures and helps reduce energy costs. Energy Star explains how the settings operate.
“The key is to establish a program that automatically reduces heating and cooling in your home when you don’t need as much. Use a programmable thermostat calculator to see what you can save with set-back temperatures that work for your family.”
Use Programmable Thermostats All Year Long
Ideally, homeowners leverage these settings throughout the year (and during the day or night) for improved home comfort.
Programmable thermostats work best when leveraged consistently. The EPA explains that although programmable thermostats can save around 10-30% on heating and cooling costs, it requires discipline.
“Consumers are often advised that installing a programmable thermostat can save them anywhere from 10 to 30% on the space heating and cooling portion of their energy bills. While reliant on proper use of the programmable thermostat, such savings are easily true in theory; however, there needs to be more field-tested data to better substantiate savings claims. Analyses from recent field studies suggest that programmable thermostats may be achieving considerably lower savings than their estimated potential.”
Set Different Temps for Day & Night
Based on the studies, homeowners generally use less energy while sleeping or away from the home. However, they frequently consume more energy while awake and at home. Therefore, consistent reliance on the programmable thermostats drive the best results. As a result, some basic strategies include:
- Set and forget the preset temperatures, so once you program the thermostat, leave it alone.
- During the winter, keep the temperature around 68 degrees when home and colder when sleeping (or away).
- Preset the thermometer to warm up your home about an hour before you wake up.
- During the summer, keep the temperature around 78 degrees when home and warmer when sleeping (or away).
Essentially, large swings in temperature drive energy costs as the heating or cooling equipment work hard to provide the desired temperature.
What other actions work with programmable thermostats that help save money?
Finally, take advantage of some simple strategies, which help ensure your family benefits from a programmable thermostat. For example, ensure proper installation, which includes setting it up and knowing how to use it.
To start, consider a home energy audit. For example, our whole house energy audits deliver outstanding benefits, providing the most comprehensive assessments available anywhere. The energy audits utilize useful health, safety and home efficiency tests that provide a prioritized list of issues. As a result, you can learn about the underlying problems and how each solution makes an immediate impact on your home comfort and energy bills. Based on your results our certified energy consultants will help you put together a custom plan for home improvements.
At A.Johnson, we provide families throughout the Capital District with home performance services. If you worry about your monthly heating or cooling bills, then stop and learn how a home energy audit provides prioritized projects that reduce your energy costs. A home energy audit offers incredible and immediate return on your money. Our professional, home comfort experts evaluate your home to improve your quality of life.
Interested in learning more, contact A.Johnson today.