The Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat for Summer Comfort
Thermostats make it simple to adjust the temperature in your home with the turn of a dial or tap of touch screen. You generally receive a thermostat with an air conditioner installation, but it might not serve your energy and comfort needs. Basic thermostats maintain a constant temperature throughout the day, making them best for individuals who are home all day or those who remember to adjust the settings before leaving the house and going to bed. For the most energy efficiency and comfort in the hot summer months, a programmable thermostat is ideal.
How Do Programmable Thermostats Work?
Programmable thermostats turn HVAC units on or off, according to a pre-set schedule. During the summer, homeowners generally program a thermostat so temperatures are cooler during the hours that they are at home and awake. Based on the pre-set schedule, the thermostat allows the home to be warmer while the residents are at work and sleeping.
Thermostats have “cool” and “heat” setpoint temperatures. If your home gets warmer than the “cool” setpoint temperature, the thermostat turns on the air conditioner. Similarly, if the home becomes cooler than the “heat” setpoint temperature, the thermostat turns on the heating system.
Programmable thermostats have the following basic settings:
- Wake: The time that you typically wake up. The thermostat will cool your home before the time that you input to ensure that it feels comfortable when you awake. A good setpoint temperature is 72°F.
- Day: This is the time that you leave for work or take care of other responsibilities. During this time, the thermostat keeps the home warmer during the summer to save energy. A good setpoint temperature is at least 7°F warmer than the “wake” temperature setting.
- Evening: This is the time that you arrive home from work or other activities. The thermostat will begin cooling your home in advance so it feels comfortable when you arrive. The “wake” setpoint temperature works well for the evening hours.
- Sleep: The time that you typically go to bed. To save energy, it is a good idea to have the setpoint temperature at least 4°F warmer than the evening temperature.
Most programmable thermostat models have override functions that allow you temporarily change the temperature without affecting the set schedule, which is great for unexpectedly warm days. You’ll also find a “hold” or “vacation” function that saves energy while you’re away for an extended period.
Programmable Thermostat Models
- 5+2-day models: This model allows you to set one schedule for weekdays and a different schedule for weekends.
- 5+1+1-day models: This model has the same schedule for the weekdays, but allows you to set separate schedules for Saturday and Sunday.
- 7-day models: Offering the greatest flexibility, this model allows you to program each individual day of the week.
Thermostat models are digital, electromechanical or both. The best kind is one that is simple for you to use. When you know how to control a thermostat, you have the ultimate control over your home’s comfort and energy performance.
Where to Install a Programmable Thermostat
When you undergo an air conditioner installation, keep in mind that the thermostat records the temperature of the room in which you place it. The best place for it is on an interior wall on the first floor, toward the center of the home. Ideally, this area is where you and your family spend most of your time.
Avoid placing a thermostat in the following areas:
- In direct sunlight: Sun shining through a window or skylight should not reach the thermostat.
- Above air vents or radiators: The air coming out of vents will skew the thermostat’s temperature readings.
- Under a ceiling fan: The cool air that fans push down skew temperature readings.
- In or near the kitchen: Kitchens warm up more than other rooms in the home because of the concentration of heat-producing appliances.
- Near doors and windows: The drafts that pass through windows and doors might make a thermostat think that a room is cooler than it actually is.
- Hallways: The lack of airflow in hallways may affect temperature readings.
Programmable thermostats allow you to maintain comfortable temperatures in your home throughout the year without the need to adjust its settings regularly. Programming one so the temperature is the most comfortable only when you are at home and awake can save up to $180 per year in energy expenses. When choosing a programmable thermostat, it is important to ensure that it works with your specific heating and cooling systems. Consult with a licensed HVAC contractor, like AAA Heating & Cooling, to determine which type is best for your home and learn the ideal placement.