Using Thermostat Automation to Decrease Heating Costs

Thermostat AutomationThermostats are invaluable in a home that is constantly exposed to shifting temperatures year round. They help keep us nice and cool all summer long, and warm and toasty during winter months. Home climate control contributes to half of our energy bills each year because frequently, the AC or heat is left on even while there is no one home. Thermostat automation is a prime method to curbing this wasteful use of climate control systems, and they can even save you a bundle of money.

Automated thermostats, also called programmable thermostats, allow you to set periods of time throughout the day where the temperature settings will change according to the needs of that time. Say, for example, on a typical work day, you want to wake up to a warm home in the morning, set the thermostat to warm up to 70°F about a half hour before you wake up. About the time everyone leaves the house to go to work and school, have the thermostat drop down to about 62°F. This will save the heater from running at all while you are not home to enjoy the warmth.

Just before you return home, have the thermostat come back up to 70-72°F so you can have a warm house for the evening. The thermostat can drop back down right around the time everyone goes to bed so the heat doesn’t need to run overnight. Using extra blankets on your bed overnight during the winter will reduce your need to run the heat overnight, thus saving on electricity. You can save a lot of energy by dialing back the thermostat. Just about every degree you lower the thermostat in the winter (or raise it in the summer), you’ll save about 1% on your energy bill. That means, if you shut your heat off while you aren’t home or while you are asleep, you could save as much as 10-15% on energy for those periods of time.

Programmable thermostats are available for just about every heating system from heat pumps to baseboard. Though in the case of baseboard heating, or any resistance heating, the thermostat needs to directly control 120 volt and 240 volt circuits, and as such, only a few manufactures make these kinds of thermostats. If your home uses baseboard heating, be certain you are using the right type of thermostat for it.


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