The demand for programmable thermostats has been steadily rising for several years, and if you’ve stopped at Lowe’s or your local hardware store recently, you might have noticed the cost is significantly higher than the standard variety. So, what’s the deal? Is it worth the investment and if so, what do the cost benefits look like?
Like most issues, the answer to that question is complicated. No, simply installing a programmable thermostat doesn’t guarantee energy savings. However, if you use this specialty device in certain ways, you will see an improvement in both efficiency and cost. Here’s how:
Do Your Homework
Taking time to actually read about the device and learn how to use it properly will go a long way to helping you reap its benefits. True, user manuals can be tough to get through, but staying focused will be worth it in the long run.
Understand Its Purpose
Energy waste comes in several forms: heating/cooling unoccupied areas of the house; keeping it too cool in the summer and too warm in winter; failing to adjust temperatures when you’re away from the home. A programmable thermostat lets you adjust indoor temperatures according to your schedule. As such, you won’t have to remember to adjust the thermostat on your way out the door.
Analyze Your Schedule
First, you’ll need to design a realistic temperature schedule. Maybe you leave for work every morning around 7:30 a.m. and get home at 6 p.m. While you’re away, indoor temperatures don’t need to be comfortable, so you can program the thermostat to adjust itself during off hours. Of course, you can make changes as life demands, but thinking about your life and setting a schedule is the first step.
If you preset temperatures for occupied and unoccupied spaces, try to keep it constant. Substantial swings in thermostat settings use more energy.
Go with the Flow
Regardless of the thermostat, keeping your home cool in winter and warm in summer will lower energy costs significantly. To stay comfortable, use fans or bundle up for added protection.
The Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the biggest selling points of this device is it learns your habits over time. Even without additional programming, it can recognize when you’re home or away and make necessary adjustments. Also, it eliminates the need to remember. In fact, if you connect it to your smartphone, you can adjust the temperature after you leave and even check in to see when the system kicks on and off.