Practically everyone uses some type of trick or tool to see that tasks get done and that their timing is right. Programmable thermostats serve a similar purpose — to see that the HVAC system adjusts for optimal comfort and maximum efficiency on the proper schedule. But, to promote efficiency, save energy and boost comfort, they must be programmed correctly.

For System Efficiency

Programmable thermostats offer efficiency benefits beyond keeping a tight and automatic watch on cooling and heating bills. Many of the latest thermostats keep tabs on system performance, and alert you to any issues or tasks which need attention. For instance, a clogged air filter can increase cooling and heating energy usage and compromise indoor air quality, which can have adverse implications for health, home and the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system. A programmable thermostat with system alerts reminds you when the filter needs changing or cleaning.

If your cooling and heating system malfunctions, you receive an alert to that issue, too. Perhaps the outside cabinet of your heat pump or A/C is clogged with leaves and other debris, affecting free airflow and performance of other components to the point which requires attention.

Many Tampa-area homeowners use heat-pump systems to provide efficient air conditioning all year long. Make sure your programmable thermostat offers adaptive recovery, which, when in heating mode, slowly and incrementally brings a setback temperature setting to the programmed comfort temperature without activating the heat pump’s backup electric-resistance heating. Backup electric-resistance heating (often displayed on the thermostat panel as “emergency” heating) is very inefficient, and a heat-pump compatible thermostat can do this for you automatically — saving you energy when you may not even realize it.

For Home Comfort

Programmable thermostats deliver energy savings by automatically adjusting cooling and heating output at specific times of the day and night based on your own program settings. So, the best way to leverage all the benefits that these devices offer — hands-free, no-strings-attached energy savings while enjoying care-free home comfort — is learning how to program the device correctly.

First, consider the daily routines of the occupants in your home. These are some general questions to note about your lifestyle. 

  • How much time is spent at home in the morning before leaving for work/school?
  • What is the approximate time in the evening when the first person arrives home?
  • Are there any regularly scheduled weekly events and activities that take everyone away from home?
  • Is the home often empty for a few days due to regular weekend getaways or out-of-town business trips?

Once you’ve noted a general weekly household routine, write down what comfort temperature you prefer during the cooling months and heating months. The U.S. Department of Energy (Energy.gov) recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees during the cooling months and 68 degrees during the heating months. And, those are the comfort-temperature settings — not the energy-saving settings.

Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa homeowners endure high humidity throughout the year, which affects home comfort and increases cooling bills. A comfort temperature of 78 degrees may not be very comfortable for a lot of folks. To save energy with a programmable thermostat, you should maintain your normal comfort temperatures, whatever they may be, while you are becoming familiar with automatic temperature changes, and program energy-saving settings during working hours, sleeping hours and other regularly scheduled hours away from home.

This is a sample energy-saving and comfort-setting weekly program which trims about 10 to 15 percent of energy costs from the heating and cooling bills, according to Energy Star statistics.

  • Waking hours — 4 degrees up/down from your normal comfort temperature setting
  • Working hours — 8 to 10 degrees up/down from your normal comfort temperature setting
  • Evening/comfort hours — your normal comfort temperature setting
  • Sleeping hours — 4 to 6 degrees up/down from your normal comfort temperature setting

For Your Lifestyle

If you’re upgrading your cooling and heating system, or undertaking new-home construction, consider the high-tech benefits of “smart” programmable thermostats. These devices offer remote access via WiFi-enabled devices, additional control of compatible home-comfort systems and more.

For more information about using programmable thermostats to promote efficiency and comfort, contact Senica Air Conditioning, Inc., Inc.  for immediate assistance in your Tampa area home.

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