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Penny-pinching Heating Costs With Digital Thermostats


A photo of a programmable thermostat.

Programmable Thermostat

Photo: Timothy Thiele
Question: Penny-pinching Heating Costs With Digital Thermostats
As the heating season continues and we continue to use a lot of gas heating our homes. I'm often asked what can be done to lessen the amount of gas used in a home's heating system. Aside from installing a new furnace that is more efficient, there are some simple things that can be done to utilize the older equipment that you have. If you still have a rotary thermostat that controls your heating system, you already know that it sets the thermostat at a certain temperature and holds the temperature at that setting 24 hours a day. Your furnace runs throughout the day, whether you are there or not. What else can be done?

This issue affects almost everyone I know personally that heats with some type of gas heating system. If you're working all day, it probably never enters your mind of the amount of times the furnace fires up throughout the day to keep your home heated to the setting on the thermostat. Although I'm in agreement with everyone that I like to come home to a warm home, it just doesn't make sense having the furnace running throughout the day when no one is home. What makes sense is turning the thermostat down before you leave and turning it up again when you get home. But that presents its own problem. That would mean coming home to a colder home than you'd like. So what is the option?

Well, a programmable thermostat is my first choice. It senses the temperature of the room, turns the furnace on and off just like the rotary thermostat does, but it also can be set to different temperatures throughout the day. That means you can have the temperature of your home cooler when you are gone and warmer when you are there. Not only that, but you can program the time that you want the thermostat to make this change in temperature. This is quite beneficial because you can have the furnace warm the house up to the warmer temperature an hour before you even get home.

Just think, the 8-9 hours you were away, the furnace did run, but only to heat to a lesser temperature, saving you both gas and electricity to run the furnace! You may say that it is just minimal per day, but the savings will add up quickly. Project that over a six month period, and I think you'll see just how much gas you'll save versus the cost of a programmable thermostat. So how do you install a digital programmable thermostat?

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