1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

April 25, 2008

:116 Programmable Thermostats

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:116 EcoTip: Get a programable thermostat If you don’t already have one. If you already have one it settings should be reviewed for maximum energy savings.

According to EPA’s EnergyStar program programmable thermostats are:

  • are more convenient and accurate than manual thermostats and improve your home’s comfort
  • contain no mercury
  • save energy and save money on utility bills — when used properly, about $150/year
  • are better for the environment, since using less energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production
  • ***********************************

     Additional Information

    EPA’s EnergyStar Rules of Thumb for Proper Use:

    1. Keep the temperature set at its energy savings set-points for long periods of time (at least eight hours), for example, during the day, when no one is at home, and through the night, after bedtime.
    2. All thermostats let you temporarily make an area warmer or cooler, without erasing the pre-set programming. This override is cancelled automatically at the next program period. You use more energy (and end up paying more on energy bills) if you consistently “hold” or over-ride the pre-programmed settings.
    3. Units typically have 2 types of hold features: (a) hold/permanent/vacation; (b) temporary. Avoid using the hold/permanent/vacation feature to manage day to day temperature settings. “Hold” or “vacation” features are best when you’re planning be away for an extended period. Set this feature at a constant, efficient temperature (i.e. several degrees warmer temperature in summer, several degrees cooler during winter), when going away for the weekend or on vacation. You’ll waste energy and money if you leave the “hold” feature at the comfort setting while you’re away.
    4. Cranking your unit up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees, for example, will not heat or cool your house any faster. Most thermostats, including ENERGY STAR qualified units, begin to heat or cool at a programmed time, to reach set-point temperatures sometime thereafter. Units with adaptive, “smart,” or “intelligent” recovery features are an exception to this rule — they reach desired temperatures by the set time, since they use formulas that are based on your historical use.
    5. Install your unit on an interior wall, away from heating or cooling vents and other sources of heat or drafts (doorways, windows, skylights, direct sunlight or bright lamps).
    6. Many homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has multiple heating or cooling zones, you’ll need a programmed setback thermostat for each zone to maximize comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the house.
    7. Don’t forget to change the batteries each year. Some units indicate when batteries must be changed.

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