While nobody in Arizona enjoys paying the price (literally) for keeping cool, there are some ways to conserve energy and ultimately reduce your utility bill.
One way to lower your energy costs is by installing and using a programmable thermostat. While the average household spends $2,200 on energy bills (half of that on heating and cooling), proper use of a programmable thermostat could save you up to $180 a year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
With a programmable thermostat, you use four pre-programmed temperature settings, to use in summer and winter. You can set different temperatures for when you are home, asleep, or away from the house. A programmable thermostat is ideal for families who are away from the house for portions of the day, like if both the parents are away at work while the kids are at school.
You use four pre-programmed settings to increase the household temperature while you’re gone and then set it to a lower temperature by the time you arrive home. Generally, if you set the thermostat to cool down 30-60 minutes before you get home, you should be comfortable upon your arrival home. Some people also choose to program the thermostat to increase a few degrees at night when everyone is asleep.
Deciding where you want to set your thermostat is a family decision. Generally, for every degree you set back your thermostat, you’ll save 2 percent on your utility bill. Try to set as high as you can comfortably tolerate. The greater the difference between indoor and outdoor temperature, the greater the utility bill will be.
In general, there are three model types:
- A seven-day model is for the family whose schedule changes from day to day. You can program each individual day of the week.
- A five-plus-two-day thermostat gives you an option for during the week and another for the weekend.
- A five-one-one type allows you to program during the week and then separately on Saturday and Sunday.
Many programmable thermostats come with features like:
- Digital, backlit displays
- Touch-pad screen programming
- Voice and/or phone programming
- Hold/vacation features
- Indicators that tell you when it’s time to change air filters
- Indicators that signal malfunctioning of heating/cooling systems
- Adaptive Recovery/ Smart Recovery features — control features that sense how long it will take to reach the next set-point temperature as well as reach desired temperatures by the set time.
If your house has more than one cooling zone (more than one air-conditioning unit), a programmable thermostat for each zone will provide energy efficiency, as well as convenience. When installing a thermostat, it should be placed away from any cold or heat sources. An interior wall away from drafts and sunlight is a good candidate. If you purchase a programmable thermostat and need more than just a replacement, you should contact a certified HVAC professional to help install it. Also, if you’re replacing your air-conditioning unit, you should supplement it with a programmable thermostat so you’ll have better all-around efficiency. To speak with an HVAC professional at Scottsdale Air Heating & Cooling, call (480) 945-7200.