Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


October 31, 2005

Time to Program Your Thermostat

Here in the Northeast, the nights are colder and the heat is coming on.

A couple years ago, we got a simple programmable thermostat. During weekdays we are all out at work or school, and we let the temperature drop to 52 degrees. We get home by around 6PM, so set the temperature up to 67 degrees starting at 5PM to give the house a chance to warm up. At 9:30 we lower to 60 degrees, and then back up to 67 by 5:45 so it’s warm when we get up. Finally, back down to 52 degrees by 8:30. Weekends are warmer during the day.

When it’s too cold, the thermostat has a simple override; just set the temperature you want and it will maintain that temperature until the next time period — great for holidays and other unusual cases.

Here’s a link to a reasonably good site explaining how to install an automatic thermostat, and also what features to look for in a programmable thermostat. And here’s a link from Home Depot for a simple and inexpensive model ($39) similar to the one we have been using for our house. For oil or gas burners, the connection is low-voltage so a simple job for all but the most mechanically impaired.

Note that if you have electric heat (as we do in the basement) you’ll need a special thermostat designed for the voltage used and probably an electrician to install it. They are a little more expensive, but of course so it electric heat over oil and gas, so probably worth it. The one we got for the basement has some clever electronics that measure and remember how long it took to get up to the set temperature so can gradually and efficiently adjust the temperature to be right at the right time. Cool!

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