You already know turning your A/C down or off when you don’t need it is a simple way to control your energy costs during the Warner Robins and Eastman area’s hot summers. Consistently remembering to do it, however, isn’t so easy. By using a programmable thermostat to regulate your home’s temperatures automatically, you’ll save both time and money.

Start With the Right Model

If you haven’t bought your programmable thermostat yet, you have three main types to choose from. The one that’s best for you depends on your family’s typical weekly schedule.

5+2 model – With this model, you can set one temperature program for the week (five consecutive days) and another for the weekend (two consecutive days). This model is sufficient if you keep a regular schedule all week and your weekend days don’t differ much from each other.

5+1+1 model – This model allows you to set one schedule for five consecutive days as well as separate schedules for each of your weekend days. For example, you might want less cooling on Saturday when you plan to be out running errands and more on Sunday when you plan to stay home.

7-day model – The most flexible of the three, this programmable thermostat lets you set a separate schedule for each day over a period of seven days. It’s the ideal choice for families in which no two days of the week are the same.

Choose Your Settings to Maximize Savings

In the summer, set your air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees when you need cooling. When you leave for more than a few hours or go to bed, raise the thermostat to two to seven degrees higher, or turn off the A/C completely if it’s not extremely hot outside. For every degree you set your A/C thermostat above 72 degrees for eight hours at a time, you should see a 1 to 3 percent reduction in your cooling bill.

Use Your Thermostat the Right Way

Choose a suitable location – Install your programmable thermostat on an interior wall away from direct sunlight and any breezes or air currents coming from windows, doors or large appliances.

Fine tune your temperatures – Take full advantage of your thermostat’s programming capacity by setting programs for each part of the day. If you plan to set your weekend program for 78 degrees, but don’t need as much cooling in the morning, set a higher temperature for the morning and a somewhat lower temperature for the rest of the day.

Maintain set-points for long periods – To achieve the greatest energy savings possible with a programmable thermostat, you’ll need to keep your energy-saving set points at least eight hours apart. For example, you might program your thermostat for 85 degrees from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. while you’re in bed.

Pick reasonable temperatures – Programming your thermostat for 50 degrees a few minutes before you’re due to arrive home won’t get your home cool faster. If you want your home cool when you get in, set your thermostat for 78 degrees around an hour before you plan to arrive.

For more precise temperature control, invest in a thermostat with “adaptive recovery” technology. These thermostats “learn” how long it takes to cool or heat your home to a certain temperature so they can begin working toward that temperature at the most energy-efficient time.

Save while you’re away – Planning to be away for more than a day, but don’t want to turn off your A/C system? Then use the “vacation” setting to keep your system cooling at a constant energy-efficient temperature while you’re gone.

Keep the batteries fresh – Weak batteries can cause the thermostat to misread the room temperature or send inaccurate signals to your cooling system. Replace your thermostat’s batteries yearly. This, of course, only applies to battery-operated thermostats. Some are connected to your HVAC system and its power source.

Zone for Better Temperature Control

To use your programmable thermostats for even greater savings and comfort, consider having system zoning installed. Zoning divides your house into two or more sections (zones) using dampers in the ducts, a programmable thermostat in each zone, and a central control panel. This allows you to send more cool (or warm) air where it’s needed most. You’ll save energy because you’ll no longer need to over-cool or heat your whole house just to get one area comfortable.

Whether you’re considering installing a programmable thermostat or you’d like to learn more ways to save on cooling and heating costs, contact us at Pruett Air Conditioning serving the Warner Robins and Eastman areas.

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