The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises homeowners that they can reduce their energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent per year by setting their thermostats at higher temperatures at night, or while away during the day (or at lower temperatures in wintertime, of course); however, many choose not to follow this easy recommendation, because they’d rather be greeted by their preferred temperature when they arrive home. Programmable thermostats can solve this dilemma.
Programmable thermostats can store multiple settings, for both weekday and weekend schedules, and can be manually overridden, if necessary. With a little trial and error, they can be programmed to begin the cooling or heating process in advance of your return home, so the most comfortable temperature greets you. Although a common misconception is that your air conditioner expends more energy to cool your home from higher temperatures, in reality, it expends less, because the higher temperatures slows the incoming heat flow.
To maximize potential energy savings, consider the following tips:
- Choose the correct thermostat. Programmable thermostats are available as electromechanical, digital, or a combined version of the two. Although digital versions include features such as daylight savings time adjustments and multiple setback settings, many homeowners find electromechanical thermostats easier to program.
- Consider its location. For peak efficiency, and to eliminate potential “ghost readings,” locate the thermostat on an interior wall, avoiding windows, skylights, doorways, and direct sunlight. Read the manufacturer’s instructions first, and avoid drafty areas, choosing instead an area where natural airflow occurs. Wherever you locate it, make sure it’s convenient for you to access it.
- Divide your day into three segments. Setting the thermostat at the maximum energy-saving temperature at night and during daytime working hours results in the greatest utility savings. Resist the temptation to override your settings, and allow your thermostat to do its job.
Although specially designed thermostats are available for use with heat pumps, they’re not generally recommended.
If you have any questions about programmable thermostats, or for any other home comfort issues you’d like to discuss with an expert HVAC technician, contact us. Air-Tro has been keeping California comfortable since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Pasadena, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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