Programmable Thermostats, When Used Correctly, Can Maximize Energy Savings
When was the last time you intentionally left your TV on when you left home for the day? And think about the last time you turned on every light in your home before you went to bed. Crazy, you say. Who would waste energy like that? The same rationale underscores the argument for programmable thermostats, which allow you to set your thermostat around the comings and goings of those in your home, and for days or up to a week at a time. Programmable thermostats, when used correctly, can maximize energy savings because you use energy only when you really need it. If you can set back your thermostat between 7 and 10 degrees for eight hours a day, you can save about 10 percent a year on your utility bill, says the U.S. Department of Energy. The prime opportunities to do so are usually during the day and overnight. A summer schedule might look like this:
- 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.: 75 degrees
- 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.: 85 degrees
- 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.: 75 degrees
- 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.: 82 degrees
- If you’re worried about walking into a too-warm house in the summer, fight the temptation to override your programmed temperature settings and turn your air conditioner down to a lower temperature. You’ll waste energy, which defeats the purpose of the programmable thermostat. Remember that your home will cool down at the same rate no matter how low you set the temperature.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat on each level of your home. When you think about the natural temperature difference between the first and second story, a programmable thermostat can work to compound the energy savings.
- Use the “hold/permanent/vacation” button only for its intended purpose: when you plan to be away from home for at least a two-day weekend. Like the override button, the hold button wastes energy, too.