Today, most homes have thermostats that are programmable to some degree, ranging from simple models to high-tech smart thermostats. Whether you’re new to programmable thermostats or think you could be getting more out of your current thermostat, here are five tips to help you get the most out of your thermostat.
An efficient thermostat starts with proper placement. Since its job is to read the temperature in your home and tell the HVAC system when to run according to that, a thermostat should be installed in a place that accurately reflects the overall temperature of the home. If the thermostat is exposed to heat sources (lamps, appliances, sunlight, etc.), it won’t read temperatures accurately. Ensure that your thermostat installation technician takes these factors into account.
Choose the Right Temperatures
While it may be tempting on a cold or hot day to crank the thermostat up for extra comfort, this will waste energy and most likely end up overheating or overcooling your home. The most energy-efficient temperatures, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, are 68 degrees during the winter and 78 degrees during the summer. These may sound uncomfortable, but keeping your home’s temperature within a few degrees of those recommended will make your home more efficient.
A common misuse of programmable thermostats is changing the temperature to make the house more comfortable faster. However, cranking the thermostat up (and off of the programmed temperature) doesn’t actually control the speed at which your home cools – only the end result. Stick to your regular thermostat programming, and your home will be comfortable as soon as it can be.
Work Around Your Schedule
The main use of programmable thermostats is to save energy while away from home, particularly when you’re at work. Depending on your thermostat’s programming settings, you can raise or lower the temperature of your home to save energy when your comfort isn’t on the line. Set your thermostat to raise or lower the temperature a few degrees around the time you leave for work, and return to your comfortable temperature about 30 minutes before you return.
Less is More
When programming “away” and “home” settings on a thermostat, many people think that a bigger temperature difference will bring them more savings. While any temperature difference will increase efficiency, you’ll save more energy by programming smaller temperature differences of no more than a few degrees (unless you’re leaving for an extended amount of time). This will keep your AC from working so hard to make up the difference when the settings switch.