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Programmable Thermostats: An Easy Way to Maximize Savings While Staying Comfy

Environmental temperatures and home use patterns both vary through the day, and with them, your heating and cooling requirements may fluctuate, as well. There's no need to keep your air conditioner running at full blast when you're out at work during the summer, even when it might be nice to come home to a cool home before the heat of the day has dissipated. And, in the winter, you want to wake up to a warm house, but you may not need to heat the entire building when you're asleep, bundled up in blankets, in your bedroom.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to automate your heating and cooling requirements in situations like these: Consider installing a programmable thermostat. This solution can lower your energy bills while helping you better maintain indoor comfort levels.

What You Need to Know About Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats control your heating and cooling throughout the day, allowing you to set different target temperatures for different times during the day and week. Because these can be set once and then ignored, they fit smoothly into busy lifestyles, and are a highly effective choice for controlling your energy spending when it comes to your HVAC system. Programmable thermostats can also be set to handle heating and cooling over longer terms, such as when you're away from home on a vacation; you may choose to keep your home minimally heated during a winter absence to ensure that your pipes won't freeze, and then warm back up again the evening you get home. There are a few ways to get the most out of a programmable thermostat system:

  • Pick the thermostat that's right for you. Different models may allow you to set different schedules for different days, or one schedule for the weekdays and one for weekends, or may offer other customization options. You might also want to consider adaptable or intelligent thermostat technology, which offers a finer degree of control on when you want to reach your target temperature by sensing the current temperature conditions and calculating how long it will take to heat or cool your home to its programmed set-point.
  • Identify the long periods when your heating and cooling needs change. You'll see the most savings benefits when you can reduce your energy use over a period of eight hours or more, such as nights and work hours.
  • Remember that you can always temporarily override the settings. If you find yourself working from home one day, programmable thermostats will let you increase your heating and cooling without resetting the entire system and having to change it back at the end of the day. Most systems will automatically switch back into their programmed mode at the next programmed time.
  • Only use the vacation settings when you're going to be out of the house for an extended period of time – a day or more. The "hold" or "vacation" mode will hold the house at a constant temperature, like a regular thermostat would, and isn't intended to accommodate differences in hour-to-hour home use patterns.
  • If your home has multiple heating and cooling zones, consider multiple programmable thermostats to control different areas. A home office might need to be heated or cooled throughout the work day, whereas the living room would see more use in the evenings, for example.
  • Know how thermostats work if you need to override the programmed settings for a day: Turning the temperature way up or way down most often won't change how fast your home heats or cools. Always set the thermostat to the desired temperature, and don't be impatient.
  • If your thermostat runs on batteries, check them every year, or as indicated by the manufacturer's guidelines.

Installing a programmable thermostat in your home and knowing how to use it can significantly reduce your home energy use, as well as taking away some of the stress of managing your home environment and keeping you comfortable, no matter what your home use patterns are.

To find a dealer in your neck of Texas that can answer your questions about programmable thermostats, just visit Texas Air Comfort.

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