Buying a programmable thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint. There are a number of programmable thermostats on the market. Below are a few notes to help you choose the best programmable thermostat for you.
The first thing to consider is compatibility with your HVAC system. Some of the cheaper programmable thermostats like the Honeywell RTH221B Basic Programmable Thermostat can only be installed to single stage systems. If you have a multi-stage heating and cooling system you will have to spend a little more money to buy a thermostat that will work with your HVAC system.
Although price is an important consideration for most people, it should be less so when you buy a programmable thermostat because it will save you money anyway. According to the Energy Star program correctly using a programmable thermostat will save you up to $180 a year. The cheapest thermostat costs about $30 and the most expensive $100.
One of the key things to look for in a programmable thermostat is how programmable it is. A good thermostat should allow you to set your temperature requirements for every day of the week. And within each day you should be able to set four different periods for heating and cooling. If a programmable thermostat has less than four time slots in a day it is not worth buying.
Another important function is swing control. Some programmable thermostats don’t have swing control. Swing control allows you to set up a range of a few degrees within which the thermostat operates. Thus if you set the thermostat to 75 degrees with a swing of 2 degrees then if the temperature falls to 73 or rises to 77 the heating or cooling doesn’t come on. This might sound like the thermostat is not doing its job, but in fact this function protects your HVAC from continually cycling. If the heating and cooling is continually going on and off because of the slightest fluctuation in indoor room temperature the HVAC system gets over-used and boiler, furnace and air-con parts are likely to soon break and need repairing. Lux Products Programmable Thermostats and Hunter Programmable Thermostats both have swing control.
Other useful functions include vacation mode and override buttons. Vacation mode allows you to set the heating/cooling to just tick over while you are away to prevent your house being damaged by such things as burst water pipes. An override button lets you quickly change the thermostat temperature without having to change your programmed information.
Another great feature that many programmable thermostats have is a warning light to tell you when to change the filters. Not replacing filters decreases the efficiency of your HVAC system and costs you money. Lux and Honeywell thermostats often have this feature.
Finally, some programmable thermostats take account for day light saving. This feature makes sure you aren’t caught out by the changing of the clocks and don’t end up waking up to a cold house. Honeywell thermostats have this function.
These are just some of the things you should be considering when you buy a programmable thermostat. One final piece of advice: read reviews on Amazon about programmable thermostats – they provide a wealth of information from people who have firsthand experience of the various models on offer.
Author: Energy Star
Page Title: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=TH