A thermostat is an important and sometimes overlooked energy-saving item in households and businesses. Manufacturers make mercury-free versions of the old-style dial thermostats for those who prefer its simplicity. Programmable thermostats are another option, which may come with preset programs that last up to six hours at a time. Smart thermostats are also able to “learn” the schedules of the space occupants, setting temperatures based on their habits. Other types use geofencing technology to track a user’s location and for example, can adjust the thermostat’s settings to gear up for a homeowner’s arrival to their house.
The ENERGY STAR® program has become a trusted name and familiar symbol for manufacturers that make energy-efficient products, including ENERGY STAR® certified programmable and smart thermostats. ENERGY STAR® partners with the Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations to create solutions that have saved families and businesses in the United States over $500 billion since 1992, according to its website.
If you would like to install a programmable thermostat on your own, the first thing you need to do is to decide where you will place it. You will need a spot away from direct heat or cold, as well as where any vents or sources of energy can directly affect the sensors.
A person who is not an HVAC professional attempting to install the thermostat needs to know the importance of following all manufacturer directions. It is important to power down electricity in that area of the house before beginning and several units have up to ten wires depending on the model. Many smart thermostats have a common wire, also known as a “c-wire,” which delivers 24 volts continually to the unit. A c-wire is typically identifiable from its blue color. If your system does not have a c-wire already, it is best to have a licensed and qualified person install it.
Still uncertain if you are ready to install your programmable thermostat on your own? Call in a certified HVAC professional for peace of mind and possibly fewer headaches. Lastly, if you do decide to go ahead and do the installation yourself, if you are switching to an older thermostat that contains mercury, be sure to use utmost care. It should not be discarded in the regular trash but according to your local recycling/hazardous materials center guidelines.
Whether one is disciplined enough to tweak a manual thermostat each day or use a programmable one, the United States Department of Energy recommends adjusting thermostats to the daytime temperature of 68°F in cooler months when people occupy a space and 78°F in warmer months. Guidelines vary for if babies, senior citizens and pets are in a household.