What Are Homeowners’ Options When It Comes to Programmable Thermostats?

Published on: October 15, 2014
Thermostat | Homeowner's options | AC Southeast®

There are many things that you can do to reduce your heating and cooling bills, but few are quite as simple or as powerful as installing programmable thermostats. With this relatively inexpensive device, you can customize the temperature levels in your home to minimize wasted energy without the need to be physically present or to manually change the settings.

Basics of a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows the homeowner to set different temperatures for different times of day. Typically, it will allow up to four different set points in each program. There may be several programs available to accommodate different days of the week. You’ll need multiple programmable thermostats if your home has different heating and cooling zones.

Types of Programmable Thermostats

Which programmable thermostat is right for you depends largely on your daily routines and schedule variability. The most common types include:

  • 5+2-day models – If you’re a typical 9-to-5 person who has the same schedule during the work week and two days off with similar schedules every weekend, this thermostat is a good choice for you. It’s ideal for people who don’t significantly vary their routine. Program your normal workday schedule into the thermostat, along with your normal weekend schedule.
  • 5-1-1 day models – Using a 5-1-1 programmable thermostat means that every day during the typical work week can be set to one program, and then each day of your weekend is set to another. This is helpful if you save out-of-the-house activities such as grocery shopping, visiting with friends, attending religious services or other such activities for the weekend.
  • 7-day models – Most popular with busy families, the 7-day model is exactly what it sounds like: a programmable thermostat that lets you set a different program for every day of the week. This is a great option for people who leave early to hit the gym before work once or twice a week, have kids’ sports or lessons after work on different days, or otherwise leave the house at irregular intervals. It’s also helpful if you work different shifts throughout the week.With this model, you can change the program for a specific day anytime your normal schedule changes, optimizing your energy savings without compromising an active lifestyle.

The user interface changes with each model, so make sure to shop around for the one that makes sense to you. Some thermostats can even use memory chips or WiFi capabilities so you can set program schedules from any device with an Internet connection in an intuitive and easy-to-use platform.

Useful Extra Features

While the primary benefit of a programmable thermostat is the ability to change the temperature automatically, it’s not the only one. Some thermostats also have settings that help control humidity or switch between different parts of a hybrid heating system. For instance, the thermostat can “decide” when the heat pump is doing all that it can, and only then turn on the furnace or other supportive heating system.

Intelligent setback features keep the heat from turning on when you’re nearing a setpoint. The thermostat senses that the temperature will be set at a different level soon, so it doesn’t trigger to correct for the current setpoint. This means that the heating or cooling system won’t kick on to maintain a temperature that will no longer be required five minutes from now.

Advantages of Using Programmable Thermostats

Energy efficiency doesn’t stop with having the right insulation and equipment. A programmable thermostat helps bring your heating and cooling systems into line with the actual requirements for home comfort. It doesn’t expend unnecessary energy while you’re not home, and it adjusts for your needs at different times of day – for instance, at night when you’re snuggled under a warm blanket and can easily tolerate a lower indoor air temperature.

For more expert advice on using programmable thermostats to save money on heating and cooling, contact AirConditioningSouthEast.com. We will help address your HVAC concerns and help you find a qualified service contractor in your area throughout the SE United States.