Thermostats help your heating and cooling equipment maintain the optimal temperature setting with the utmost energy efficiency. Today’s electronic models are a vast departure from earlier mechanical styles. Microprocessors allow you to program your home temperatures to suit your lifestyle, so you can keep things comfortable while you’re home and automatically set back your temperatures to save energy when you’re away or sleeping.
Electronic thermostats work in much the same way as older, manual thermostats did. The microprocessor inside compares the thermometer reading of a room’s temperature to the desired temperature you select. Then, it gives start and stop commands to the heating or cooling system to bring the temperature to a level that makes you comfortable.
Programmable thermostats basically work the same way, but they are far more convenient. Once you program the thermostat to customize the system’s operation to fit your lifestyle and schedule, all you have to do is relax and let it do all the work. You simply program into its memory the temperatures you need, at what time of the day, to stay comfortable and save energy all season. You only need to program it once – until the season or your lifestyle changes.
The most important way that a programmable thermostat saves energy is in its setback feature. When you don’t need a normal level of heating or cooling, you can program the thermostat to set the temperature back until the next pre-programmed time when you want normal temperatures. Programming temperatures around 63 F on cold winter nights, when you’re snuggled under blankets, can help you save as much as 15% on your heating costs. You can save even more by programming your system to “setback” the temperature when your family is away at work, at school, or on vacation. In summer, setbacks work much the same way for central air conditioning.