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Lower Utility Bills and Financial Savings from Programmable Thermostats

U.S. government agencies reported several years ago that a household’s heating and cooling costs account for nearly half of the more than $2,200 that the average American household pays in energy bills every year, with heating alone costing about $1,000 annually. You can install a thermostat to regulate your heating or air-conditioning systems to control your home’s temperature, but you cannot just install any thermostat.

Regular thermostats require manual adjustment of your house’s temperature. On the other hand programmable thermostats require less manual operation as you can set multiple daily temperature settings for several days to control your home’s temperature while the more sophisticated models offer more settings and other features.

Savings in Energy and Money

You can save energy and money by investing in a programmable thermostat. This thermostat costs about $30 it is a basic model or $100 and higher if it is the high-end variety. However, buying an expensive programmable thermostat is still cost effective because of the $180 savings from your energy bills every year. You can also save additional money as some thermostats are compatible with old heating systems, so you do not have to replace your existing unit.

A programmable thermostat can theoretically reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling by 10 percent to 30 percent, although research indicates that you can only save about 6.2 percent in gas consumption if you choose an Energy Star-certified thermostat or slightly higher at 6.8 percent for thermostats used in old heating systems. Do not despair on these less-than-expected results as your usage of the thermostat will determine your savings.

Maximizing Your Savings

Knowing how to efficiently use a programmable thermostat, and not just buying the priciest model, can maximize savings in energy consumption. Your thermostat can be fully customized to regulate temperature on schedule by adopting certain guidelines.

  1. In winter, set your programmable thermostat to 68°F (20°C) while you are awake and at home and lower when you are asleep or away. Setting back your thermostat by 10°F to 15°F for eight hours can save 5 percent to 15 percent on energy consumption, but the savings is higher in milder winter than in extreme cold weather.
  2. Another way to optimize energy efficiency from your thermostat is to set it at 78°F (26°C) in summer while you are at home and shutting it when you are away. For bigger savings, you can do away with air-con in summer if you can be cooled by electric fans.
  3. Selectively heat or cool specific areas in the house and not the whole house itself if it is not fully occupied. You can use space heaters or room AC for local heating or cooling needs.

Reducing your utility bill for heating and cooling your house requires a combination of factors such as knowing the right temperature setting for a season or even a time of day, and not just installing and setting the best programmable thermostat.