How Green is Your Programmable Thermostat?
The concept of “going green” and saving energy consumption is familiar to most people. Fortunately, it’s not too hard for an individual household to make major changes.
Heating and cooling makes up about half of the average home’s energy bill, so it’s a great place to start, whether you want to go green to save energy or just to save some money. One of the easiest and most significant changes you could make is installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats have been around for years, but how much impact do they really have?
To find out how much these thermostats can save, first consider where money is wasted. The bulk of heating and cooling costs go towards unused areas of the house, or towards times you’re sleeping or not at home. Trying to save costs by closing vents to unused rooms puts unnecessary strain on your system. It’s better to control what happens overnight while you’re sleeping, or when you’re not there.
So why not just manually change your system? Because most people just aren’t good about turning off their system when they leave. In addition, many people don’t want to adjust their thermostat up and down regularly, believing it costs more to readjust the temperature if they turn it off overnight or while they’re out. That’s just not true, though. One test showed that leaving the unit on, instead of turning it off and then having it compensate later, used over 300% more energy.
What kind of savings are you in for? On average, you’ll see about a 1% difference for every degree you change. That may sound small, but it can make a significant dent in your bill. If you take into account how often your house is empty, it’s feasible to save 20% on your energy bill, simply by investing in a programmable thermostat. The best part? You don’t have to worry about constantly making changes. You just set it around your schedule the first time, and leave it to do all the work.
Of course, a thermostat is only going to benefit you when used properly. Many people purchase a programmable unit, only to leave it in the “hold temperature” mode. When you do this, you’re using it like any other thermostat. This setting overrides any programming you have set, and leaves the home at a constant temperature, defeating the entire purpose.
You can pick up a programmable thermostat for under $25 at most stores. Considering how much you can save, this purchase could pay for itself in just a few months.
If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing one of these units, there’s never been a better time! They’re more affordable than ever, and they’ve never been easier to use.