Choosing a Programmable Thermostat For Your Heat Pump

A programmable thermostat is an excellent energy saving piece of equipment.  According to EPA estimates, by automatically adjusting the temperature of your home to match your work and sleep schedule, a programmable thermostat can save up to $180 per year in energy costs.

In the winter, a programmable thermostat lowers the temperature setting while you are sleeping or at work, and automatically raises the temperature so that your home is comfortable when you wake up or get home from work.  It works the opposite in the summer.

If you have a standard gas or oil furnace, most universal programmable thermostats will work fine.  Your HVAC technician can install one for you or you can choose one of the many programmable thermostats available at your local home improvement center if you are the do-it-yourself type.

If you have a heat pump, you should talk to a reputable HVAC contractor who has heat pump experience and carries HVAC accessories and optional components.  Until recently, most programmable thermostats worked fine when the heat pump was used in cooling mode, but they were not very effective at saving energy for heat pumps in heating mode.

When the temperature setting is increased more than a couple degrees, most heat pumps rely on auxiliary electric heating strips to help bring the temperature up to the desired setting.  Using the auxiliary heat cancels out the energy savings from lowering the temperature at night.

There are now some thermostats specifically designed to work with heat pumps.  Your HVAC professional can help you choose the right thermostat for your heat pump and make sure it is installed and set up to work properly with your equipment.

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