When we visit homes to carry out a general ac repair, we find many homes don’t make full use of their programmable thermostat. Making use of the program settings on your thermostat can help you keep your bills down. If you and your family are away from home for extended periods of time during the day, at work or at school for example, then using the programmable feature on your thermostat can save you hundreds of dollars.
What Thermostat Programs Do
It depends on your system of course, but as a general rule a thermostat can be programmed to turn on and off at set temperatures and at set times.
There are three different types of settings, check your thermostat to see what yours allows you to do:
- 7 day models allow you to program each day of the week differently depending upon your family’s schedule,
- 5+2 day models allow you to set one schedule through the week, and a different one on the weekend,
- 5+1+1 models allow you to program a schedule through the week, but different schedules on Saturday or Sunday.
Make Use of Energy Saving Set Points
Set the temperature on your thermostat at energy saving set points when you aren’t expecting to be in the property. This is usually 5-8 degrees above the temperature your air conditioning comes on in the summer, and 5-8 degrees below the temperature your heating comes on in the winter.
Use the Hold Button
Put your thermostat constantly on an energy saving temperature when your schedule changes – such as an evening out of the house, or a weekend away. Otherwise you will be paying for cool air or heating in an empty house.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to override the settings that have been carefully pre-programmed. Resist the urge, and encourage family members to do the same. Make sure family members, especially children, know to keep windows and doors closed when the air conditioning is on or they won’t feel the benefit.
Set your program so it reflects how you and your family use your home. Be realistic about the times the house is in use, and set it at a temperature that will be cool but not freezing in summer, and warm but not stuffy in winter.
Remember, all your efforts will be wasted if people override the setting so it could be worthwhile setting the air conditioning to come on before your family start to arrive home so the house is already cooled and they won’t have the urge to put it on a very low temperature. Lower temperatures are not cost effective.
For your thermostat to work effectively it needs to be able to sense the correct ambient temperature of the room. If your thermostat is positioned in direct sunlight, or near heating appliances or air registers, it could sense an artificially high or low temperature and you could be wasting money.
Periodically check your thermostat is working properly by checking your batteries if it uses them, and that it turns on and off at the correct temperatures. If there is a problem you may need a general ac repair.
Use Your Thermostat Properly
A programmable thermostat is an underused money saving device. Taking the time to understand how your thermostat works, and setting a program that reflects your family’s schedule, can save you hundreds of dollars a year.