5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is an HVAC accessory that can help save money on your energy bills – but only if you know the best ways to use it. Every home and family are different, which is why a programmable thermostat is important. You can customize your settings to your lifestyle, then let the thermostat regulate your climate control for the most efficiency. Here are five ways to get the most from your programmable thermostat.

  1. Write down your family’s schedule. The first thing you need to know is what hours your family is usually in the house and when they are not. Write down your schedule to facilitate programming your thermostat.
  2. Set your timer for work/school days. Using your schedule, if there are usual days when no one is home, set the timer to a lower or higher temperature (depending on the season) during the time the home is empty.
  3. Set the thermostat for sleeping hours. Change the temperature for your home when bedtime arrives for your family. Set it to a more efficient setting an hour before you go to bed and to change right before you wake to your standard temperature.
  4. Keep an eye on the batteries. Most thermostat batteries need changing about once a year, but not all models have a low battery indicator. Make sure to proactively change your batteries to ensure the thermostat works correctly.
  5. Avoid constant changes. Unless your schedule changes, try to avoid overriding your programmed settings. It is easy to forget to reset, which can cost you more in energy.

A programmable thermostat, especially some of the newer smart models, can save you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs. If you have an older thermostat, consider updating your model to get the most efficiency for your HVAC system.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

How Smart Is Your Thermostat?

Technology has led to incredible inventions which can make life not only easier, but also more affordable. This is definitely true of the HVAC thermostat. The newer models are designed to make it easier to control the temperature of your home while also learning your preferences without needing regular programming. If you have an older thermostat installed in your home, it may be time to consider upgrading to one of the higher tech models which can help make your space both more comfortable and more energy efficient. 

Features Available On New Thermostats

First and foremost, a programmable thermostat is a worthwhile investment for any homeowner who currently has or is considering the installation of an HVAC system. The ability to program your home’s temperature throughout the day can lead to large savings on your energy bill. This allows you to reduce the heating or cooling when you and your family are gone during the day, also at night when you are sleeping. Some other fantastic features that newer thermostats offer include: 

  • Learning capabilities. Many computerized thermostats now can learn your preferences and program your temperatures accordingly. These smart thermostats can memorize what settings you use, give you energy efficient options and even create reports regarding energy usage during a set period.
     
  • Remote technology. Newer thermostats often now have Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to control your home settings from any internet capable device, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.
     
  • Display. Many of the high-tech thermostats come with back-lit displays which are easy to read and use, often with touchscreen options. Battery backups ensure settings are not lost during a power outage. 

To learn more about the smart options available in thermostats, talk to your local HVAC service company for advice. They can suggest a newer model which will meet your personal needs, and which can possibly offer substantial savings off your energy bills when used correctly.

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Programming Your Thermostat For Vacations

If you have one last vacation planned for the summer or are getting away for a long Labor Day weekend, save some money on your energy bills by programming your thermostat accordingly. While you are away, there is no reason to pay for your home to be cooled to the same comfort level you would expect while your home is occupied. While you may not want to turn the HVAC system all the way off, you should at least raise the temperature a few degrees. 

Where Should You Set Your Thermostat?

While you are away, you want to save on your energy bills. However, you should still keep your home cooled to a reasonable level. Allowing it to get too hot can destroy items in the house, plus make it expensive to cool down when you get back. A good rule of thumb is to set it between 3-6 degrees above your normal setting. This will save on energy while still keeping your home reasonably cool. 

The same is true for winter vacations, in the opposite direction. During the winter, set your thermostat about four degrees below your normal setting while away for heat pumps. For gas furnaces, you can go a little lower, up to eight degrees since they can heat a home back up to temperature quickly and efficiently. 

By raising or lowering your thermostat during your vacation, you can save a bundle off your energy bills while keeping your home at a safe, moderate temperature. This will ensure that when you return your home will be able to return to your normal settings quickly and efficiently. For those with programmable thermostats featuring smartphone applications, consider changing your temperature setting back to normal a few hours before you get home.

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Energy Saving Thermostat Setting Recommendations

According to Energy.gov, there are a few simple thermostat strategies you can use to significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs. By maintaining an even temperature when you are home, then allowing the temperature to go higher or lower when you are away from the home or asleep, you can save money and reduce your energy usage throughout the year. Applying this strategy is easy to do, especially if you have a programmable thermostat

Winter Thermostat Settings

For the colder months, you should keep the thermostat in your home set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you are at home and awake. Depending on your family and schedule, this may only be in the mornings, late afternoons and evenings. During times when the home is empty or everyone is in bed for the night, lower the temperature at least 10 degrees. 

Summer Thermostat Settings

During the summer, your at-home temperature setting should be set at 78 degrees or higher to keep energy bills low. Once again, during the sleeping hours or when you are away from home, set the thermostat at least 10 degrees higher or turn off your air conditioning altogether to save on energy. 

Programmable Thermostats

The easiest way to accomplish these setting changes is to invest in a programmable thermostat. Set your thermostat to automatically change the temperature at your family’s regular bed and work or school times. By lowering or increasing the temperature at least 10 degrees for 8 hours a day, you can save up to 15% off your heating and cooling costs each year! Talk to your local HVAC service professional about installing a programmable thermostat to make maintaining these temperature settings easier.

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Time to Upgrade Your Thermostat?

While the average life expectancy of an HVAC system can be more than twenty years, there are some relatively minor upgrades that you’ll want to consider on a more regular basis. Some will even pay for themselves in the long run, because they’ll go a long way towards reducing your monthly heating and cooling bills. One such upgrade to consider is the replacement of an old, outdated thermostat.

When your thermostat gets older, it often becomes inaccurate and less efficient. You could be spending more money than you realize on heating and cooling each month, due simply to the fact that your inaccurate thermostat is causing your system to run more often than is strictly necessary. Manual thermostats also require you to change the settings before you leave the house each day to ensure that it’s not maintaining peak temperatures while your home is empty. In order to save a bit of money with an older, manual thermostat, you’ll have to suffer through a bit of discomfort when you return home as your HVAC system struggles to bring the temperature back to a comfortable level.

Speaking with your licensed and experienced HVAC professional about upgrading to a new programmable thermostat may be the answer to all of your problems. You can program the thermostat in such a manner that it saves energy throughout the day, but adjusts back to a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. No more chilly evenings or sweltering afternoons. You can even program for weekend schedules, setting your thermostat and forgetting it. Speak with an HVAC contractor in your area today about making the switch to a more efficient thermostat.

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Choosing A Programmable Thermostat

An easy way to save money on your air conditioning and heating bills is to replace your standard thermostat with a modern programmable thermostat.   Programmable thermostats automtically adjust the temperature in your home to keep you and your family comfortable and switch to an energy savings setting at night or during the daytime hours when you and your are away at work or school.  Depending on your lifestyle, there are many different features and models that can help lower energy costs while maintaining a comfortable home temperature. 

Additional Features

The additional features beyond the standard four pre-programmed settings can make one thermostat stand out from another. Some of the additional features that models may come with are:

  • Voice programming
  • Smart phone programming
  • Vacation or hold features
  • Troubleshooting indicators
  • Adaptive recovery/smart recovery 

Daily Settings

In general, there are three different kinds of models to choose from to program your day and week temperatures. The model you choose will depend on how much your schedule changes throughout the week. 

  • 7-day model. If your family’s schedule changes from day to day, a seven-day model allows you to program it for each individual day throughout the week. For example, if the kids are home early on one day, but later on others, you can set the timers differently for each day.
  • 5 + 2-day model. For those who have a set schedule Mon-Fri and a similar schedule for the weekends, this model can let you set one program each.
  • 5 +1+1-day models. If you are on a routine for 5 days and then the other two days need to be individually set, this may be a good choice for you. 

Once you choose the model that best fits your lifestyle and schedule, your service technician can professionally install it and help you learn how to program your new programmable thermostat. By using the various settings you can make sure your heating and cooling system is always on when you need it and off when you don’t.

The Wonder of Thermostatic Heat Control

Thermostats are one of those many items in a modern house that we can easily take for granted. We use them to adjust the temperature of our home and make it comfortable for us without giving it much thought, until it stops working, that is. 

The first thermostat for controlling room air temperature was invented in the late 1800’s. Since then, the use of a thermostatic device to control the temperature in our home and the output of our heating and cooling systems has continued to evolve. Initial thermostats were related to the heat system only, but many today are used to control both heating and cooling of the home through the same thermostat. 

A residential heating and cooling thermostat works by first measuring the temperature of the air surrounding it. A thermometer of some type must therefore reside in the thermostat to measure and give a reading of that actual temperature. In addition, the readings of that thermometer device must trigger an electrical response based on the temperature settings you provide to signal the furnace to ignite the burner and start the blower fan, as well as turn those functions off when the thermometer reaches the desired temperature setting. 

The internal means of measuring the temperature and responding to the temperature settings have varied over the years and used a variety of means. Today, most homes use a digital, programmable thermometer, though there are still plenty of homes that have the older dial type thermostat. Both provide similar control, the programmable thermostat simply offers the homeowner the convenience of telling the system when to turn on and off without the owner having to be physically present to make those adjustments.

The Importance of Thermostat Location

There may be homeowners who disagree with their HVAC contractor as to where to locate their thermostats within the home, due to aesthetic reasons. However, it is very important to follow your professional HVAC contractor in regard to this decision. The location of your thermostat can make significant difference on how accurately the thermostat controls your heating and cooling system and thereby the comfort of your home. 

Your residential HVAC thermostat should not be located too close to heat vent or cold air return. These areas may not accurately reflect the average temperature through the room or home. Some hallways may also lack the flow of air needed for accurate readings, if most of the rooms connected to the hallway have doors that remain shut the majority of the time. 

In addition to keeping your thermostat away from heat registers and cold air returns, you should not have the thermostat located next to an outside entrance door. The temperature in entryways can fluctuate greatly with people entering or leaving the home. Thermostats should also not be located too close to windows. The heat from the sun or cold air caused by hitting the cold surface of the glass in the winter could affect the performance of your thermostat in accurately controlling the temperature of your home. 

If your heating and cooling system is controlled by one thermostat, as many homes are, it is important that the thermostat be as centrally located as possible. It should be place on the wall at eye level in an area that has an open flow of air through it to provide an average air temperature of the home.

Talking Thermostats: A Great Choice for Poor Eyesight

Some may think that having a talking thermostat to control your home heating and cooling system is just a fancy, unnecessary convenience, but for those who have difficulty reading a standard thermostat due to poor eyesight or blindness, a talking thermostat is a much-appreciated piece of modern technology. 

When a person finds a typical thermostat difficult or impossible to read, a talking thermostat is the perfect answer. Not only can a talking thermostat tell a person what the room temperature is and what temperature the thermostat is set to, it can also alert the residents of the home to problems with the system and remind them when it is time to change their furnace filter. These are features that can be desirable for any homeowner, not just those who have limited eyesight. Because of the importance of changing your furnace filter when needed, this feature alone can be reason enough to install a talking thermostat. Keeping your furnace filter refreshed promptly can help your furnace operate more efficiently and lengthen its operating life. Fresh filters also help eliminate dust and allergens from your household air. 

Some talking thermostats also can be operated and controlled by voice as well. This allows the homeowner to simply tell the thermostat to go up or down or rest, a timesaving option for some and an important feature for others. Senior citizens with poor eyesight or anyone who needs a handicap accessible thermostat, the talking thermostat and voice-controlled thermostat can be great assets. As technology advances, homeowners reap the benefits.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat for Convenient Energy Savings

If you want to gain the energy savings available by adjusting your thermostat, you can do so manually. You can turn the thermostat down when you leave the house and back up when you return home. Adjusting the thermostat a few degrees each evening for when you are sleeping can also add to your energy savings. 

There are two problems with the manual scenario. First, when you return home there will be an adjustment period of time while the temperature adjusts to the new setting; the same will be true in the morning. In the winter months, you’ll be getting up to a cold house and waiting for it to warm up while you get ready for the day. The second problem with the manual scenario is the fact that it is so easy to forget to change the setting in a rush to leave for work or school, or before going to bed. 

A programmable thermostat solves both problems. Once you have the thermostat set for your regular work or school schedule, it will automatically adjust the temperature settings each day according to your programming. You can even have separate settings for weekdays versus the weekend. You can also program in separate settings for nighttime sleeping versus daytime temperatures. 

Upgrading your current thermostat to a programmable thermostat makes energy saving simple and convenient. Your HVAC contractor can recommend a programmable thermostat and quickly install the thermostat in place of your old thermostat. The cost of replacing the thermostat can be recovered in a short of amount time by the savings in energy costs.