How to get the most out of your Programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are terrific to reduce your energy consumption for heating and cooling while keeping your home comfortable, but they have to be used properly to be effective.  They work by automatically adjusting your temperature setting to a more energy efficient setting while you are away from home or asleep.

For example, when you using heat, the thermostat will automatically lower your temperature setting after you go to bed, then increase it before you get up so that your home is comfortable when you get out of bed.  After you leave for work, it again lowers the temperature and increases shortly before you arrive back at your home for the evening.

The thermostat can be programmed to leave the temperature at a comfortable setting during the day on weekends and only lower it at night.  In summer months when your air conditioner is running the thermostat will do the opposite – it will allow temperatures to rise while you are away or asleep and return to a more comfortable setting in time for you to get up in the morning or when you return from work.

To maximize energy savings, make sure the temperature is set to the energy saving setting for as long as possible.  Also, you should set the energy saving temperature by at least 8 degrees lower than your usual setting in the winter and 7 degrees higher in the summer.  It may take some minor adjustments at first to find the right program for you, but once you find settings that you are comfortable with, try to follow the “set it and forget it” approach.  Your thermostat has an override provision, but the more often you use it the fewer energy savings you will see. You will generally be better off finding comfortable settings and avoiding the use of the manual override.

Programmable thermostats are available from your local HVAC contractor or home improvement center.

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