January 17, 2010

Why Are Programmable Thermostats Better?

A while back I pointed out that you can save money with a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats save you energy by simply helping you to automate turning the heat on/off.   If you manually turn your heat on/off the exact same way then thats the same impact.  The programmable thermostat is automatic so you can't forget.  Some fancy programmable thermostats have some built in logic to optimize the heat use, which means it will turn the heater on /off just enough in the right way to make it most efficient.  But most programmable thermostats are simply timers.   When it comes down to it a programmable thermostat is a convenient way to automate turning down/up your heat.

Keeping a constant temp is not cheaper than turning the heat down for 8 hours at night or when you're at work.   But turning the heater on/off for short periods is not going to save you anything.

However some people believe that if they leave temperature of their home at a constant level that it is more efficient.  I've seen this repeated on the Internet  myself.

From the government site on energy savings they say:
"A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel required to reheat a building to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as the building drops to the lower temperature. You save fuel between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time heat is needed. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save."

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