Wire Your Home for Savings and Comfort with a Programmable Thermostat

Wire Your Home for Savings and Comfort

Wire Your Home for Savings and Comfort with a Programmable Thermostat

Wire Your Home for Savings and Comfort: A programmable thermostat is inexpensive, easy to install, and saves substantially on home energy costs.

Unlike older thermostats, which you had to manually change, newer ones let you set the heating and cooling temperatures in your home to match your lifestyle.By programming your heating and cooling system to run only when you need it, you save money and energy while enjoying more efficient comfort.

Because modern programmable thermostats run on sensitive computer sensors, they are more accurate, functional, and convenient than past technologies. They let you preset the heat to turn down before you turn in—and to kick back in just before you wake up to a warm house. During the day while you’re away, you can do the same—preset the heat to turn down before you leave for the day and to turn back up just before you arrive home. In summer, the same strategy applies in reverse with air conditioning. Programmable technology lets you enjoy savings without sacrificing comfort.

How You Program Savings

It pays to have a programmable thermostat since the longer your heating and air conditioning system runs low or idles, the more money and energy you save. Depending on the efficiency of your particular heating and cooling system, you can save as much as a third on your annual energy bill.

Most programmable thermostats allow you to preset temperature changes for four or more times a day. The more you reduce your heat while sleeping or away from home—anywhere from 8 to 15 degrees—the more you will save. For air conditioning, differences in temperature adjustments are usually less extreme.

It is a common myth that turning a furnace up and down uses substantially more energy. But if your heating and cooling system is outdated or inefficient, recovery from temperature swings will take longer and be less productive, yielding less savings and comfort. Since every home is different, you will need to experiment with your thermostat to find out how long it takes for your heating and cooling to adjust to shifts in temperature.

Tips for Installing a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats range from $30 to $100. Spend the extra money for a quality unit. Some lower-priced models are unreliable and tend to trigger your HVAC to turn on or off at the wrong times. Look for thermostats with the Energy Star label to ensure quality.

Be aware that old thermostats are made with toxic mercury switches, which should be handled with utmost care and disposed of according to manufacturer instructions.

Depending on your type of heating and cooling system, most thermostats connect anywhere from 2–10 low-voltage wires. Some thermostats are designed for thicker line voltage wiring, used with baseboard type electrical systems.

Always turn off power to your furnace at the breaker box before touching the wiring. The wires inside the thermostat should be labeled with letters, which tell you the type of replacement thermostat you will need. The new thermostat will have the same type of wires, which will attach at the same points as your old thermostat wires. Consult a professional manual for instructions and talk with a knowledgeable retailer. If the wiring is unclear, call a contractor.

For optimal functionality, your programmable thermostat should be located on an interior wall, where it won’t be sensitive to temperature changes from sources like vents or windows. If you need to relocate your thermostat or upgrade your system, consult with an HVAC professional. Some heat pump systems can require a more specialized unit as well.

Another convenient option to consider is a wireless programmable thermostat.

Enjoy programmable freedom and functionality.

The cost and time involved with installing a modern thermostat are minimal for the payoff. You enjoy more efficient temperature regulation without sacrificing comfort—saving money and energy.

QUICK TIPS on Wire Your Home for Savings and Comfort

• A programmable thermostat is inexpensive, easy to install, and saves on energy—as much as one-third on energy bills.

• Unlike manual thermostats, programmable thermostats let you automatically pre-adjust temperatures, so you have heat and cooling only when you need them—heat turns down at night and turns up automatically just before you wake up.

• Modern programmable thermostats are more accurate since they are designed with sensitive computer sensors and have the capacity for four or more temperature settings a day.

• The longer you program your HVAC system to run low or idle, the more money and energy you save.

• Programmable thermostats work better with heating and cooling systems that work well. Older systems take longer to recover from changes in temperature and cost more to run.

• With an efficient HVAC system, the more you reduce heat when not in use, the better—up to 15 degrees.

• Look for Energy Star-rated thermostats. Lower-priced units tend to be unreliable.

• Replacing an old thermostat with a new programmable thermostat is usually a matter of simply rewiring a few low-voltage wires (always turn off the furnace switch at the breaker box before handling wires).

• Locate your new thermostat on an interior wall, where it won’t be sensitive to temperature changes from vents and windows.

• For relocating a thermostat or more complex wiring, call a contractor.

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