Owning and properly setting your programable thermostats can make a huge impact on your energy bills, more on that in a moment… here are some facts.
Weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say we’re not likely to see a repeat of last year’s mild winter and the country is expected to see average temperatures 18 percent colder this winter. How that plays out for us in Arizona remains to be seen, but colder weather in other parts of the country affects the demand (and cost) of heating everywhere.
The U.S. Department of Energy says the average family spends more than $2,200 a year on their utility bills. About half of that goes toward heating and cooling.
While a lot of that cost is beyond our control, there are some aspects of it that we can influence, such as purchasing a programmable thermostat and knowing how to use the settings.
Generally there are four pre-programmed settings on the thermostat, so you can control the temperature in the house in summer and winter. And within those seasons, you can adjust settings for when you’re home, when you’re asleep, and when you’re away. Why should you pay for heating your home when everyone’s at work or school for a third of the day? And at night, take advantage of electric blankets and extra blankets to reduce heating your home for another third of the day.
The most important aspect is knowing how to set the thermostat for maximum efficiency. You should turn the heat down at bedtime, have it heat up just before you get up in the morning, reduce again when everyone leaves, and have it kick in again just before everyone returns home.
Ideally, in winter you’ll set the thermostat 8 degrees lower for 10 hours of the day and overnight for eight hours. During the summer, aim for 4 degrees. If an 8-degree deferential during the winter is too cold for you or a chiller-than-normal front comes through, you can always override the settings. They’ll usually kick back in with the next scheduled change.
Some programmable thermostats have become so advanced that a motion detector can sense when family members arrive home. Some can even be programmed via wi-fi from your computer or smart phone.
Some models have a touch screen display with live weather alerts and forecasts and Internet-access, room-by-room control. Why warm the back of the house when everyone is in the kitchen and family rooms? And no need to heat that guest room that is only used four weeks a year.
In addition to the technological advance, remember the basics. When installing your thermostat, place it on an inside wall away from windows and doors. Keep in mind each degree over 68 degrees adds about 3 percent of the energy needed for heating. And when having large gatherings, remember people generate heat, so set the thermostat a degree or two lower before that big party gets kicked off.
And remember, cranking the thermostat way up or way down with the idea of getting warm or cooled off quickly doesn’t work. It ends up keeping the heating/cooling on longer and ultimately increasing your energy bill. Find a temperature that works for you when you’re home and leave it at that setting for your at-home, awake periods.
If you need a programable thermostat installed in your arizona home as the winter months approach or you need to have your heating system serviced, Scottsdale Air Heating and Cooling will come out to do an annual heat pump inspection, check your thermostats, make sure there are not issues with the heater producing carbon monixide. If things aren’t running smoothly with your heating system, you’ll want a company you can trust. Call the Scottsdale Air team at (480) 359-7141.