Your Home Has a Programmable Thermostat, But Are You Using It Efficiently?

A programmable thermostat is a vital component of a home that is energy efficient. With such a device, you can set your schedule and ensure that the air conditioner, heat pump or heater is not running the whole time when you are gone for the day or sleeping at night. Understanding the features of programmable thermostats and how you can incorporate those features into your day-to-day life will help you make the most out of this investment.

Features of programmable thermostats

If you find yourself in the market for a programmable thermostat, or if you have one you own that you need to use more efficiently, understanding the basic features of these thermostats should help. First, all programmable thermostats will have the ability to store and repeat daily settings, usually at least six different temperature settings a day. They also give you the ability to manually override those settings without changing the program, so you can bump the temperature up or down if you find yourself unexpectedly home on a day when you are normally at work. In addition to these basic features, you can find thermostats that offer:

  • Backlit displays
  • Touch screen programming
  • Vacation settings
  • Phone or voice recognition programming
  • Wireless programmability
  • Indicators for problems with the HVAC system or the need to change the filter

The most high-tech thermostats will also have adaptive recovery options. This intuitive feature will sense the amount of time it is likely to take to reach the next temperature setting, and then will turn on the heat or air conditioning early so that the home is at the desired temperature at the time requested. In other words, rather than having the air conditioning kick on at 5 p.m. to reach the desired temperature, the unit will determine that the home needs 20 minutes to reach that temperature and will turn on at 4:40 p.m. instead. When you walk in the door, the home will be at the comfortable temperature you want after work.

In addition to these basic features, these thermostats come in a few basic models. These include:

  • Seven-day models: These allow you to set the program for seven different days, which is ideal if your schedule changes daily.
  • Five-plus-two models: If your weekday schedule is fairly set, but your weekend days are much different, you can set two different schedules with this model.
  • Five-one-one models: If your weekday schedule is established but you find that your weekends are quite different, even changing between Saturday and Sunday, then this model allows for one schedule during the week and two different schedules for weekend days.

Proper use of programmable thermostats

Now that you understand what programmable thermostats can do, you need to understand how to use yours more effectively. As you make plans to incorporate it into your lifestyle, keep these tips in mind:

  • Aim for at least eight hours per temperature setting, rather than regular adjustments. Have about three different time frames programmed in per 24-hour period.
  • Avoid overriding your pre-programmed settings using the “hold” feature, as this will defeat the purpose of the device and increase your energy consumption.
  • Avoid the temptation to increase or decrease the temperature to an extreme temperature to try to heat or cool your home more quickly. The HVAC system will not work more quickly just because you put 90 degrees on the thermostat, and you may forget to change the temperature back to the regular level.
  • Don’t use the “hold” or “vacation” setting for managing day-to-day temperatures. Save these for unexpected times when you need to adjust the temperature outside of your regular schedule, such as if you are home sick during your normal “away” hours.
  • Change the batteries every year to avoid efficiency problems with your thermostat.
  • Remember to program the thermostat for each zone in your home if you have multiple heating or cooling zones set up to maximize your energy savings.

If you are looking for more information about programmable thermostats and how to maximize the efficiency of your HVAC system in your Sarasota area home, we are ready to help.  Contact Climatic Conditioning Co. today to talk to a qualified HVAC technician and learn more about keeping your home comfortable while maximizing every dollar you spend on energy costs.