How to Lower Your Winter Heating Costs with a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can take your home’s HVAC system into the 21st century, allowing you to control heating and cooling through a dashboard or internet-enabled device. More than modern gimmicks, these clever gadgets can cut your home’s energy use by as much as 30 percent. Whether you have a new smart model thermostat or an older device, the four tips below will help you make the greatest energy savings this winter.

Don’t Run the Thermostat While You’re Away From Home

Programmable Thermostat

Too many of us regularly forget to switch off our HVAC systems or leave them running during the coldest parts of the year. Programmable thermostats help you break these bad habits. Modern smart thermostats use sensors and algorithms to learn when you’re away from home. They turn off when you leave and restart on your return to avoid heating or cooling your empty house. The idea might sound a little like science fiction, but enabling this “auto-away” feature could save you money. Use a programmable thermostat in a similar way by programming your device to switch off when you’re not home, such as during vacations or working hours. If you program the device to turn on a little before you usually return, your home will feel comfortable when you walk in the door.

Reduce the Temperature at Night

Your body loses only 1 to 2 degrees of heat while you sleep, so you don’t need to keep your heating system turned up overnight. Program your thermostat to drop temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees at bedtime and rise when you wake up. You’ll reduce your energy use and enjoy a better night’s sleep.

Monitor Your Energy Usage

Smart thermostats come with mobile apps which monitor your energy usage. This real-time feedback can help you discover times when you’re using a great amount of power and identify ways to reduce your power consumption. For example, you might notice your energy usage rises when your grandchildren come to visit. Perhaps they’re increasing the temperature, causing your HVAC system to work harder. Once you identify the problem, you can speak to them about adjusting the thermostat. Most apps for your phone also tell you how much you can save if you adjust your thermostat temperature by a few degrees. Using this type of data helped Life hacker writer Jason Chen cut his power bills by a third, so think about what this data could do for you. If your thermostat is programmable, you can enjoy the same savings with simple changes.

Integrate Your Smart Thermostat With Other Smart Devices

Smart thermostats work well with other smart devices. Integrate them in creative ways, and you could reduce your energy consumption further. For example, you could hook up motion sensors and instruct your smart thermostat to power itself off when rooms are left unoccupied. Or you could use the trigger from an advanced sensor like the SmartSense Multi Sensor to recognize when someone opens a window. This action could force your thermostat to turn off to avoid wasting energy. Programmable thermostats are clever pieces of technology, but they’re only as smart as the homeowners using them. Adopt these habits to see the greatest reduction in your utility bills this winter.

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