Energy Savings with Programmable Thermostats
One of the easiest ways to decrease your energy bill is installing a programmable thermostat. Intelligent scheduling capabilities combined with wireless sensors monitoring temperature and humidity put you in complete control of your home’s air treatment. Heat or cool your home how you want, when you want, and put an end to wasted energy.
Leave it to the experts at Carrier to provide a wide range of programmable thermostats and control systems. Browse the selection of smart thermostats here, and find the one that fits your home.
Types of thermostats and what they do
Your thermostat type is chosen based on the type of heating and cooling your system is equipped with; whether it is a gas furnace, heat pump or electric heat dictates the mechanics of the thermostat. This is a matter for your A/C and Heating contractor to match up the correct thermostat to your system.
Beyond the mechanics however, there are a myriad of styles and options available! We will cover these from basic to advanced.
Basic “old style” thermostats historically have used a mercury switch to control heating and cooling run times. This type generally used sliders to adjust set point temperature and to select mode (heating/cooling/auto) and fan settings. Most of us have seen this type at some point. Because they contain Mercury they need to be handled and disposed of properly.
Next came the digital thermostat. The two big differences are that it has a digital LED screen and the temperature control is done by a sensor called a thermistor, instead of the bi-metal element and mercury switch. Instead of sliders for control we graduated to push buttons. This type also greatly improved the capacity for Programmable and Multi-function thermostats. Using SolidState technology we can program more functions than traditional thermostats; like humidify/dehumidify and zoning functions.
Next came the introduction of the touch screen thermostat. At its heart it is not much different than the digital thermostat; the primary difference being we have eliminated the external buttons and now perform all functions using the touch screen. Most touch screen thermostats are also considered advanced thermostats because of the many functions available. Not only can they do many of the things a traditional digital thermostat can, but models such as the Honeywell Prestige HD shown above also display outdoor temperature and humidity via a wireless sensor. The Prestige does many other things we will discuss later as well.
Smart thermostats are next on the list and are the current leading edge technology in thermostats. Smart technology allows thermostats like the EcoBee above to access the internet via a wireless router in the home. This enables you to access your thermostat from any computer with an internet connection in the world! It also uses weather data to perform audits and adjust the set points up or down to reach the desired comfort level right on time. The EcoBee web portal allows you to have full control of any number of EcoBee stats; so you can set the temperature of the house before you arrive! This is an emerging technology, so be on the look out for exciting developments on this frontier!
So what does all this mean for you, the home owner?
Now that you are familiar with the different types of thermostats let’s discuss what is right for you.
By far the number one question I am asked is whether or not someone needs a Programmable thermostat or not. While programmable stats can save a considerable amount of money, they just don’t make sense for everyone. Here are a few examples:
Does a member of your family stay home all day? Maybe you are a stay-at-home Mom (or Dad), or perhaps you office out of your home; if so a programmable thermostat may not be the best option. Here’s why:
Programmable stats save money by adjusting the set points when you are not at home; we call these adjusted set points ‘setback’. IOW, you program the stat for when everyone leaves the home for work to a higher cooling set point and a lower heating set point. Then, on returning from work, you have it programmed to go back to the comfort settings you prefer. In this way, the time you are gone, and the home is empty, your HVAC system isn’t running as much thereby saving energy, wear and tear on the equipment and money. However, if someone is home all day long, then you can see how the comfort points need to stay the same all day; so a programmable stat will not make as much difference. There are still circumstances where a programmable stat will help save money even if someone is home all day and your A/C and Heating professional can help you answer that question.
Visit the Honeywell Prestige HD pages
Visit the EcoBee pages