The cooling experts at Richmond’s Air in Houston discuss how programmable thermostats work, along with benefits homeowners can expect
There’s one heating and cooling tool that every home should own: a programmable thermostat. While it may not sound that exciting, programmable thermostats offer major benefits to homeowners. Find out why you should have, and how to properly use, a programmable thermostat.
How a Programmable Thermostat Works
With a programmable thermostat, you set a schedule for your thermostat (and thus air conditioner) to follow. You set the times you want your house cool and the temperature you want it set at.
When there is no one at home, you can program the thermostat so your unit won’t run as much. To maximize savings, energy experts recommend cutting back the cooling temperature by ten degrees when you won’t be home for more than four hours.
You can set a programmable thermostat to begin cooling your home before you get home or wake up so that you never have to experience an uncomfortable house. Most recommend that you set the thermostat to begin cooling down your home about one hour before you plan on needing the house cool.
Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat
There are three main benefits of these types of thermostats:
1) Comfort When You Need It: Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule when your house is cool. These thermostats have four different temperature windows spread throughout the day: morning, daytime, evening, and night. You set when you want these times to begin.
For example, if you wake up at six, you may set your morning window to run from five (so the house gets to temperature before you get up) until the time you leave to go to work. There are three different types of programmable thermostats that can meet everyone’s needs:
- 7-day thermostats: If your schedule is very different from day to day, a seven day thermostat allows you to program your thermostat to run differently for each day of the week.
- 5+2 day thermostats: These thermostats are great for people who have a standard work week and two weekend days that are similar in pattern to one another.
- 5-1-1 thermostats: This type of thermostat allows five days of a standard cooling pattern (typically the work week) with two days (the weekend) which you program independently of each other. That way, your thermostat can be prepared for differences between your weekday, Saturday, and Sunday schedules.
2) Energy Savings When You Don’t Need A/C: Of course, when you cut back your thermostat during times that you aren’t at home, it offers the reward of energy and cost savings. The Department of Energy estimates that cutting back on A/C every degree saves you up to 2% on your energy bill.
If you have a zone cooling system, you’ll need a programmable thermostat for each area. This will allow you to keep sections of your home that you don’t use often at a higher temperature.
3) Stops the Thermostat Wars: If you live in a house where you and your family members are always changing the thermostat setting behind each other’s backs, programmable thermostats might just be for you. Programmable thermostats are a great way to compromise while agreeing to certain rules when it comes to cooling your home.
For example, let’s say that Mom appreciates the house cool but not freezing during the evening before bed. She’s continually put out when Dad lowers the thermostat when he sits down for dinner. On the flip side, Dad really just can’t sleep in a "hot" bedroom the way his wife can. This couple could agree to honor Mom’s request in the evening and Dad’s temperature request at night then set the thermostat and not mess with it.
While it may take some trial and error to find a temperature set and schedule that works for everyone, having a mutual understanding that you don’t mess with the thermostat can help relieve tension in the household. Besides, not always fidgeting with the thermostat can save money and energy.
Starting at just $30, programmable thermostats are a small investment that offers big rewards, both in energy savings and in quality of life. At Houston’s Richmond’s Air, our cooling technicians are happy to help you install and program your programmable thermostat. Call us today if you’re in the greater Houston area and have questions about air conditioner repair, service or installation.