Cold winter weather gets many homeowners thinking about ways to reduce heating costs, and one simple and effective method is by installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats offer an advantage over conventional models by automatically heating your home when you need heat the most, and letting the temperature stay a little lower when you don’t.
Settings and Programming
A programmable thermostat allows you to pre-set a heating (or cooling) schedule based on your daily and weekly routine. This is how it saves you money – by heating your home the most during certain parts of the day, such as the morning and evening, when everybody’s home, and lowering the temperature at night when you’re asleep or during the middle of the day when you’re at work.
Most programmable thermostats come pre-programmed with factory settings designed to maximize savings for the average household, but the beauty of these devices is that you can reprogram the temperatures and schedule based on your own specific needs. You can reduce heating bills by an average of 10 percent just by setting your thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day.
Types and Options
Most of the programmable thermostats on the market can be broken down into three basic categories, and picking the model that best suits your needs can make an enormous difference. Here are your options:
7-Day Models – These are the most flexible type of programmable thermostat, and offer the most programming options. With this type of thermostat, you can set a different heating schedule for every day of the week. A 7-day model is a great option if people in your household tend to be home at different times depending on the day of the week.
5+2 Models – The simplest type of programmable thermostat, 5+2 models allow you to set one heating schedule for week days, and a separate schedule for the weekends. These thermostats tend to be a bit less pricey than 7-day models, and they work well in homes where the Monday through Friday schedule is usually the same.
5-1-1 Models – Intermediate in flexibility between the other two types, 5-1-1 models allow one heating schedule for Monday through Friday, and separate settings for both Saturday and Sunday.
Take location into consideration when you install a new thermostat. An interior wall away from all heat sources is best. Also, avoid allowing the temperature in your home to dip below 55 degrees in winter, even if nobody’s home. At lower temperatures, you may run the risk of frozen pipes.