HVAC systems utilize a large amount of energy, but they are important for us to maintain comfort inside our homes. Programmable thermostats were developed to save the homeowner money on heating and cooling costs when they are away or sleeping. As controller of the thermostat, using them correctly is imperative to successfully saving energy. Follow these tips to get the best value out of your investment. 

  • In the winter, set the temperature 5 degrees lower when you are at work or sleeping. During the summer, set it 5 degrees higher when you are away or sleeping. Each degree saves 1% of energy, so 5 degrees saves 5% energy. If you are comfortable with a 10 degree difference, you will save even more.
  • Limit overrides, do not change the temperature setting if you are home and awake. It’s important to maintain a constant temperature at least 8 hours a day, as changes require the most energy.
  • Avoid large temperature changes. Lowering the temperature to 55 degrees, or raising it to 85 degrees does not make your system cool down or warm up any faster, rather it increases energy usage.
  • Use a “vacation” feature or set a consistent temperature when you are away for long periods of time, even if it is just a weekend. 
  • When installing, keep your thermostat away from sources of extreme heat or cold and direct sunlight such as fireplaces, windows, doors, or other elements. These can cause false temperature readings.
  • Install more than one programmable thermostat if you have a large house that utilizes a zoning system. This helps to optimize comfort in each area or “zone” of the house.
  • Change the batteries once a year. Most thermostats will inform you that there is a low battery.   

The idea for a programmable thermostat is to save on energy by using less while you are away, but many homeowners will use more while they are home, resulting in less savings. If you have questions about your programmable thermostat or are interested in installing one in your home, contact Nelson’s at (757) 566-7014.