A programmable thermostat is a convenient and cost effective way to keep your house warm and reduce energy consumption. At ATCO EnergySense we can help you make decisions about purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat. Here are some of the most common questions about programmable thermostats.
A programmable thermostat provides two main benefits. First, programmable thermostats make it easy to lower the temperature in your home while you are away or sleeping, yet allow you to arrive home or wake up to a warm house. Second, the more frequent use of lower temperatures will result in measurable and significant energy and cost savings.
Generally speaking, if you lower the temperature in your home by one degree Celsius (1°C) over an eight hour period for the entire heating season, you will save approximately two per cent a year on the heating portion of your energy bill. The more you lower the temperature, the more money you’ll save.
For example, let’s say you use 100 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas each year to heat your home. You decide to lower the temperature by 5°C (from 21°C to 16°C) at night when you are sleeping (for about eight hours). This adjustment will save you about 10 GJ of natural gas a year.
The following chart illustrates the potential energy savings that can be achieved by using a programmable thermostat.
Years of research have dispelled this myth, that a furnace has to work harder than normal to warm a space back to a comfortable temperature, resulting in little or no energy savings from turning down the heat. On the contrary, numerous studies show that the fuel saved by reducing the temperature more than makes up for the cost associated with returning the house to a comfortable temperature. Plus, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save.
You should have no trouble installing a programmable thermostat, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. However, if you are unsure, you can hire a qualified heating contractor or electrician to complete the installation.
Some thermostats have the capacity to control furnace fans and humidity levels. Such features may require additional wiring or other modifications. If this is the case, you should hire a qualified electrician or heating contractor to assist with installation.
Programmable thermostats can be complex to set up and operate. Most are designed to store and repeat multiple daily settings. Others can coordinate the time that the heat turns on to coincide with outside temperature changes.
The contractor who installs your thermostat may help you with the initial set up and may provide follow-up support. As well, most thermostats come with detailed instructions. After installing a programmable thermostat, take time to review the instruction information carefully.
• Position the thermostat where it won’t be affected by heat, cold or drafts. For example, you don’t want your thermostat located near windows, doors or heat registers.
• Set the thermostat to match your work habits and lifestyle, and to take into account seasonal variations.
• Fall is a good time to check the thermostat battery and replace it as required.
• Use the vacation mode when you know you will be away for several days.
• Lowering the temperature too much could result in problems associated with increased condensation and mould growth.
• Older manual thermostats contain mercury. It is important to ensure proper handling and disposal of your manual thermostat when it is replaced. Contact your local municipality for information about proper disposal.
For additional household energy-saving ideas, visit the Energy Fact Sheets.
ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business solutions in Structures & Logistics, Electricity, Pipelines & Liquids, and Retail Energy. More information about ATCO can be found on www.ATCO.com.