Making Life Easier…with a Programmable Thermostat

Here in Florida, we deal with all kinds of weather. And it’s pretty typical for Monday to be 50 degrees and sunny, and Tuesday to be 80 degrees and pouring rain. So, from one day to the next, you never really know what you’re gonna get on the thermostat. Which means that there are days when our air conditioner doesn’t run at all. And there are days when it does nothing BUT run, poor thing.

When we moved into this house, my hubby did lots of research on the air conditioning unit – things like what to keep it set on to make sure we stayed energy efficient, and when it should be serviced, and how often the filter would need changing. The typical stuff.

But not long after, we had a small issue with it, and called our local AC service folks out. After the issue was corrected, they recommended a programmable thermostat, to which my husband quickly agreed. If it’s a new gadget or techie item, he’s all about it!

Programmable thermostats are a newer innovation for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems that allow for finer control of indoor temperatures than ever before. These thermostats engage at certain times of the day, letting you cut energy costs the rest of the time. Using one effectively requires some thought about how to set it up. Below, you’ll find some tips on using your programmable thermostat as effectively as possible.

Programmable Thermostat

On Versus Auto

Many people just turn their HVAC on without paying attention to the thermostat settings, and that is a mistake. Most thermostats have two major settings, “on” or “auto.” Turning your system to “on” leaves the fan operating constantly. This keeps the air quality in your home high by constantly bringing in outside air, but does so at the cost of increased energy bills and air filters which are constantly exposed to dirt, clogging them much quicker. Set to auto, your fan turns on instead when a temperature threshold passes, saving energy but doing little to help air freshness.

Turning the System off When You Are Away

The biggest use of your programmable thermostat is to turn your HVAC down or off during times when you don’t need it. The number one time you would want the HVAC off, of course, is when you are absent from the house. Most people keep to a regular schedule around the house, leaving for work or school at the same time every day. If you set your thermostat to turn off the heat or cold during these hours, you’ll see major changes when you pay your energy bills.

When to Set the System to Turn On

At the same time, anybody is capable of remembering to turn the thermostat off on the way out the door. The big advantage of the programmable thermostat is that you can also set a time to turn it back on, preferably just enough before when you’ll return home that it will have time to raise or lower the temperature to your requirements. You should consider the season and the weather forecast when setting the times for your HVAC to turn on. In colder or hotter times, your system will need more time to get things to a comfortable temperature.

Programmable Thermostat

Keeping a Steady Temperature in Extreme Weather

When the weather changes drastically, and our homes start to get colder or warmer, there is a temptation to change the temperature settings on the thermostat. The problem with this is that it is inefficient — your HVAC doesn’t actually heat up or cool down faster when you change the temperature settings. Instead, all you are doing is changing the destination temperature for the system, and it is far too easy to forget to change it back or to go back to your presets. Stay steady during temperature changes, and trust that your system will eventually make things right.

Programmable thermostats are a wonderful tool for keeping your home comfortable as efficiently as possible. Like any tool however, they are only as useful as their user allows. Plan out how you’ll use the thermostat to keep your energy use under control, and you’ll see your bills shrink. I promise! We certainly did!

Ask your HVAC service person about a programmable thermostat. They should offer you several options – you can choose your price range without issue, and between the convenience, the energy efficiency and the savings, you’ve definitely made your life easier!

Now, I’m curious: just how old is YOUR thermostat?!

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

20 thoughts on “Making Life Easier…with a Programmable Thermostat

  1. I’ve had a programmable thermostat for nigh 3 decades now. No need to keep the house at 68 when no one is home. In the summer, it crept up to 79 to be dropped slowly starting at 4:30 (so it would be cool enough by 5:45 or 6. when the throngs arrived)- with the opposite in the winter. And, for prolonged extensions during our vacations.
    It was the primary way to keep the costs of temperature control reasonable for a six-story, six-bedroom home.

  2. Ours is probably as old as “the flood”! Ya know what I mean. Our home is not a new one (new for us) I never know how to set the thermostat. Maybe I should get one of these and truly figure out how to set it so we can save some money. Thanks for the tips on this one!

  3. That would be awesome. I always wanted something like this. Maybe I should start thinking about an upgrade. Thanks for sharing the benefits!

  4. My parents have one of these. Although for them the problem is that they never learned to use it properly, even though it’s not very complicated. Definitely seems like something that is useful to have!

  5. Our thermostat is a digital, programable one, too. And auto is the way to go. We are having that crazy southeastern weather today – high 70’s – towards the end of the week it will be a low of 29 – crazy.

  6. If I didn’t live in an apartment where I have no control over the temperature AT ALL I would most certainly get one of these. It is definitely a money saver if used correctly.

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