You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from
home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.
Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set
schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that
you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.
You can easily save energy in the summer with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are
away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Although thermostats can be
adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or
In the winter, you can follow the same strategy by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you're awake and setting it lower while
you're asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your
cooling bill -- a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings
from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.
Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the
most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for
some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.
When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler
temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed.
Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four
hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.
The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer's installation instructions to
prevent "ghost readings" or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. To operate properly, a thermostat must be on an
interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. It should be located where natural room air
currents–warm air rising, cool air sinking–occur. Furniture will block natural air movement, so do not place pieces in front of or
below your thermostat. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.
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