How a programmable thermostat can reduce your energy bill

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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heating and cooling costs account for over...

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heating and cooling costs account for over half of the more than $2,000 that the average household spends on energy bills. A programmable thermostat can help you slash your energy costs by regulating the home's temperature, but only if the device is installed correctly.

What

Many consumers waste energy by running their HVAC erratically and allowing it to remain on the same setting while they are sleeping or when the house is empty. However, the EPA estimates that you could save up to $180 a year by regulating your temperature settings with a programmable thermostat.

How

By programming the thermostat, you can set it to meet the needs of you and your family. When no one is at home, it's not necessary to heat or cool a deserted house. Likewise, when the family is asleep, the thermostat can be set at a more efficient temperature. Some people mistakenly believe that when you turn the HVAC unit off or adjust the thermostat, it takes more energy for it to later reach the desired temperature. However, the EPA refutes this theory.

For maximum effectiveness, the thermostat must be installed on an interior wall and placed away from vents, windows or direct sunlight. If not, the thermostat will project false readings.

Installation

Although some people attempt installation themselves, if the programmable thermostat is not installed properly, it will not operate efficiently or safely. Depending on your HVAC model, installation may include anywhere from two to 10 wires--and improper connections can prove problematic. Also, if you have a heat pump, you may require a specific type of programmable thermostat. An Atlanta-area HVAC professional can help you select the best device for your home and provide trouble-free installation.

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