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Programmable Thermostat: Should You Install One?

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat is a thermostat designed to save energy by adjusting the temperature based on programmed settings that occur at different times of the day. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

Programmable Thermostats Not Recommended for Heat Pumps

A programmable thermostat can save you money on your electric billProgrammable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In the cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting.

Maintaining a moderate setting for a heat pump is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat more cost-effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

A normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

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When in heat mode, the trick is not to have the programmable thermostat turn the heat up too quickly, causing your electric strip heating to kick in and off-set any savings you had by turning down the heat in the first place. Usually, if you crank up your heat more than one or two degrees at a time, the electric heat will kick in. Only by slowing increasing the temperature setting a degree at a time will you avoid the electric heat from coming on.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Talk to us about a programmable thermostat before just installing one. We can advise you, based on your home and your lifestyle, whether a programmable thermostat is right for you or not. Call Brown and Reaves Services today. 843-497-9867. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

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