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Should I Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

If you are cautious with your finances, you may be reluctant to buy new items to replace those that still work. In the case of a programmable thermostat, however, that decision could result in better comfort control and lower energy bills. While your old thermostat may work, a programmable unit facilitates more precise management of your indoor conditions, enabling you to obtain important energy savings.

Managed Settings Reduce Random Changes

If your current thermostat goes through a tug-of-war as different members of your household make changes based on their interests, then your bills probably reflect that unpredictability. These unplanned changes can result in wasted energy and money. Programmable equipment allows you to set the temperature control based on your family's schedule. Although household members may temporarily override these settings from time to time, a programmable thermostat typically returns to its pre-set levels after a short period of time.

Plan for Household Activities

There are several types of programmable system controls, enabling you to select a model that best reflects your typical activities for the week. This is important because your time out of the home is an opportunity for savings as you adjust your temperature settings for less heating and cooling activity. Common models include:

  • 7-day - these allow independent programming on a day-by-day basis, ideal if your household's schedule is irregular.
  • 5+2-day - excellent for families with consistent week and weekend periods, these offer you the ability to program one set of times and temperatures for the week and a separate set for the weekend.
  • 5-1-1 - with consistent weeks but different Saturday and Sunday schedules, this type of thermostat provides independent scheduling options for these periods.

Use ENERGY STAR Guidelines

A heating or cooling adjustment of 1 degree over a period of eight hours can result in up to 1 percent savings on your heating and cooling bills. You can initially program your new thermostat according to ENERGY STAR recommendations, making adjustments based on issues like your personal comfort preferences, your household schedule and area climate conditions. The general guidelines include four temperature periods daily as follows:

  • Waking setpoint - heating setpoint of less than 70 and cooling setpoint of 78 or higher
  • Daytime - heating decrease of 8 degrees or cooling increase of 7 degrees
  • Evening - return to waking setting
  • Sleep - heating decrease of 8 degrees or cooling increase of 4 degrees

You may find that you will need to adapt these guidelines as you deal with the heat of the Texas summer months. As you find the settings that work best for your home, you can stabilize your utility bills and enjoy AC savings by maintaining more consistent system operation. A Texas Air Comfort specialist can assist you in selecting the right programmable unit for your household's schedule.

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