There has been a lot of talk about how much money programmable thermostats can supposedly save the average homeowner, but can a programmable really save you as much money as they say it can? Energy Star states that the average homeowner can save about $180 a year when properly using a programmable thermostat, but the problem is that most of us invest in these pricier thermostats but never use them correctly. You have to find a program that works best with your schedule and actually set the thermostat to run that program! If your schedule changes you have to adjust the program. This is the only way you will see these kinds of savings on your energy bills.
Best Thermostat Placement
Learning how to use your programmable thermostat properly is one part of the equation and the other half is having it installed properly. Many homeowners will try to cut down the extra cost of upgrading to a programmable thermostat by installing it on their own, and without thinking they end up installing the thermostat in an area of the home that decreases its efficiency. Even if your current thermostat has been installed in the same place for the entire time you have lived in the home, you should still make sure that the temperature it is reading is an accurate representation of the temperature in the entire home.
- Heat and Cold Exposure: The thermostat should be kept away from anything that emits excess heat or cold. Large electronics, direct sunlight exposure from windows, refrigerators, and lamps could all affect the temperature reading on the thermostat. Also, keep the thermostat away from HVAC registers that are pushing hot or cold air into the room. The temperature close to the vent will be much higher or lower than the real temperature in the home depending on what system is being used.
- Exterior Walls: If your thermostat is on an exterior wall, it must be moved to an interior wall. Exterior walls are exposed to the temperature outside and no matter how much insulation you have in the wall, it is always best to install the thermostat on an interior wall.
- Drafts: Drafts from windows, frequently opened exterior doors, and attached garages can affect the thermostat’s reading. Consider whether or not draft may be affecting your thermostat.
Why Do Temperature Differences Matter?
When the thermostat is not reflecting the real temperature in the home, you won’t be comfortable and you could waste money. For example, when the thermostat is exposed to excess heat during the summer, it will keep the air conditioner running for much longer than necessary. The rest of the home will be icy cold, but the thermostat will think it is warmer than it really is. This wastes money over cooling the home, and the same can be true in the winter if the thermostat is exposed to excess cold from a refrigerator or an exterior wall. So, check out your thermostat’s placement, or call your local HVAC contractor to have them assess whether or not your thermostat should be moved to a more efficient area of the home.