Cut your AC Budget with a Programmable ThermostatPublished on: May 14, 2013
Air conditioning can be one of the biggest summer expenses with the potential to easily double a utility bill. Each degree the thermostat is lowered increases the energy used by about seven to 10 percent. Therefore, it may seem like the simplest solution is to sacrifice comfort by turning the air conditioner up or off in order to save money. However, using an AC programmable thermostat saves money, energy and comfort.
How An AC Programmable Thermostat Works
A programmable thermostat works exactly like a regular thermostat, but is preset to automatically change temperatures to accomodate your family’s lifestyle. One of the most recommended methods to save money on air conditioning is to increase the temperature before leaving the house or going to bed. It is never a good idea to leave the system running 24/7. A programmable thermostat can be set to the desired temperature for different times of the day based on when the residents are at home and awake, without having to worry about adjusting the controls every time they leave or go to sleep.
Types of Programmable Thermostats
Each model of programmable thermostat offers a different level of control. The most basic model is a timer that raises or lowers the temperature by a few degrees for the number of hours set before returning to the original temperature. More advanced units operate on a preprogrammed schedule. The desired temperature for each time of day is set and the air conditioner cycles on and off based on that temperature.
The most common times for changing the temperature are before going to bed, shortly before waking up, when leaving for the day, and shortly before returning home. Depending on the programmable thermostat purchased, the number of temperature changes allowed may be higher or lower. Some units also offer different settings for weekdays and weekends. The most advanced units allow scheduling by the individual day of the week. Still others can even be remotely accessed to make changes while away in case an earlier or later arrival home is expected.
How Using a Programmable Thermostat Saves Money
A programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to reduce utility bills by cutting home energy use. If there are eight working hours and eight sleeping hours in a day, energy usage can be reduced for 16 out of 24 hours a day. By increasing the temperature five to 10 degrees during those hours, the energy usage during that time can be cut by anywhere from a third to one hundred percent. During the remaining hours at home, a more comfortable temperature can be enjoyed knowing the overall bill will still be lower. In a warm climate with air conditioning costs running $100 or more per month, the savings could total hundreds of dollars per year.
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