Gain the upper hand on summer electric bills with a programmable thermostat

April 26, 2017

It’s not like going to the grocery store and loading up on your favorite ice cream when it’s on sale. It’s not like going to your carrier and buying a cell phone and negotiating a better deal on family packages. And it’s definitely not like going to a flea market, where you’re actually expected to wheel and deal.

When you receive your electric bill, you pay it – no questions asked. And like many Floridians, you’re probably resolved to digging even deeper during the hottest summer months.

This is one paradigm you can reverse, and start reversing today, with the installation of a programmable thermostat. Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning loves installing these nifty devices because they place the power back into homeowners’ hands, allowing them to reduce their electric bills by 2 percent, 4 percent, 6 percent and more.

The choice, for a change, is yours.

“Do the math” with a programmable thermostat

When they were introduced, programmable thermostats were known as “setback thermostats” because they allowed people to “set back” their thermostat – most often before leaving the house for an extended period of time during the day or during the overnight hours.

“Programmable” is a more apt modifier since these thermostats allow you to enter thermostat settings for a day, five days or a full week ahead of time, including weekends. But there’s no need to feel “locked in”; you can override the settings at any time and make changes.
The energy savings start racking up immediately, the U.S. Department of Energy says. For every degree you raise your home’s usual temperature in the summer, you can save up to 2 percent on your energy bill, the department says. (You can achieve the same savings in the winter, by lowering the thermostat when you run your furnace.) This is the kind of math anyone can do – and double-check after a few electric bills start rolling in.

Consider this sample schedule

So how do you program a programmable thermostat? Everybody does so differently, based on their routine and comings and goings. It’s simple to make a programmable thermostat suit your needs.

Without breaking into a sweat, your goal is to raise the temperature as high as you can when you’re not home, or awake, so that your air conditioner runs less often. As Charlie’s has written before, you probably don’t want to turn off your air conditioner during the hottest, most humid days of summer. In addition to cooling your home, your air conditioner is designed to remove humidity. It can perform this function at a higher temperature, but it still must be turned on to do so.

So here is a summer schedule you may wish to follow to begin multiplying your energy savings with a programmable thermostat:

  • From 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. (when everyone is home and getting ready for their work or school day): 70 degrees
  • From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (when everyone is gone for the day): 80 degrees
  • From 6 to 11 p.m. (when everyone is back home): 70 degrees
  • From 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. (if the nights are cool and you can run ceiling fans or tabletop fans in bedrooms): 75 degrees

You get the idea. And you can capitalize on it further by programming your thermostat to begin cooling down your home an hour before you return at the end of the day. By doing so, you won’t have to wait an hour or so for your home to cool down after you walk through the door.

Consider the other advantages

The flexibility offered by a programmable thermostat is another one of its primary advantages. Some models even allow you to reset the temperature from your smartphone so you can make changes when you’re on the go. Other benefits include:

  • Less wear on your air conditioner – and a presumably longer lifespan as a result.
  • Fewer trips to manually adjust the thermostat.
  • Fewer “uh oh” moments when you return home and realize you’ve been paying good money to run your air conditioner at a higher-than-necessary temperature.
  • More consistent interior temperatures.

When you’re ready to start slashing your electric bill, call Charlie’s to schedule an appointment so we can show you several models of programmable thermostats that we recommend. In our opinion, programmable thermostats are one of the best purchases you can make for your home – and one that will pay you back many times over. Take the power back – and let Charlie’s lead the way.

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