Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making our Home a Home Sweet Home - Part 10: Why pay to heat and cool your home when you’re not even there?

If you’re looking for a really low hanging fruit to save some money on utility bills, simply head out and buy a programmable thermostat at your local home improvement store.  They are relatively easy to install, with a couple standard tools, if you follow the instructions (which is of course pretty important).
Sometimes I wish I would have made all of the improvements I’ve mentioned in this series in sequence with enough space in between the phases to see what kind of impact each one had on savings, but in this case my impatience outweighed my need for science.  Once you learn something about building science, the things in your own home begin to glare at you.  I just want to make those things go away.
While I don’t have clear numbers for you on what the programmable thermostat saved us at my home, the EPA publishes some industry averages.  They say folks save an average of $180 a year by replacing a conventional thermostat with a programmable one.  It is certainly part of the story that resulted in our receiving a letter from PSNC that our equal pay gas bill would be $13 per month instead of $43.  Some of that is attributed to better insulation and air-sealing, but the thermostat ensures that our HVAC system can relax during times we are either not in the house, or when we are asleep.  Those are the largest proportions of time in the life of a house, and big opportunities for savings.
There is a range of programmable thermostats, from ones that have standard times and periods of day predetermined without customizability, to ones that can link up with your wifi network so you can control them with your smart phone when you’re out of town, across the street.  The one you see here cost me about $70.  But, as you can see from the EPA information above, it pays for itself, on average, in less than half a year.  That’s both smart and puts money back in your pocket.
What are you waiting for?  I was proud of my accomplishment.  You will be, too!

Remove old thermostat
Wire and mount new thermostat
Program and Save!!!

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