We have been working on updating the ancestral home (sounds far better than it is) and my sister bought a programmable thermostat for me to install. Thanks, sis! I have been putting these into all of our houses for years, but somehow the family homestead missed out on the update.
There are so many reasons to update the controls for heat and cooling, money being only one of those. In anticipation of this project, I thought some tips on how to get the most out of your heat might be appreciated.
Program the programmable thermostat. Yes, seems like a simple thing, but lots of people don't do it. You may have heard that 68 degrees is the optimal temperature for your house. If your house is that warm, you clearly don't live with us; 59 is our most common temperature.
If you follow the 68-degree-all-the-time setting, you are missing some energy savings. With your programmable thermostat, you can set the temps to go lower when you aren't home and higher when you are at home or at your regular shower time.
If you live where it goes below zero like we do, you may need to adjust for those several weeks of sub-zero to keep a reasonable temperature indoors. With that exception, reducing your temperature setting by ten degrees for the hours you are gone (let's call it 9 hours) can reduce your heat bill by up to 15 percent. Yes, the furnace may run a little longer to climb back up to your preferred temperature, but the savings will be worth it.
You may be thinking, "I don't even program the VCR." Not to worry! The pre-programmed setting that comes with most thermostat brands will help you save money and still be comfortable. If you do feel bold, you can adjust the setting to fit your own family's schedule.
I encourage you to give a programmable thermostat a try and share your tips and savings in the comments.