Electronic Programmable Set Back Thermostats

Do the new set back thermostats really save money? How do they do it? Find out here.

Every home owner has been to the big home centers and walked past the thermostat display at least once. There are cheap models costing a few dollars or so, and then there are a whole line of electronic, programmable set-back thermostats which have taken over the shelves in the past few years. For the computer challenged individual, the prospect of an electronic thermostat is daunting. Do they really save money?

You bet they do! The basic idea behind an electronic, programmable set-back thermostat is that your house does not need to be the same temperature all the time. You do not need to heat while the family is out of the house at work or school and less heat is needed at night when everyone is nestled snug in their beds.

People have understood this concept for years. With the old fashioned manual thermostats, one could turn it back every night to save money. Then the family would wake up freezing... And keep freezing until the heat came up. With an electronic, programmable set-back thermostat, this ritual of complaining children and grumpy spouses becomes a thing of the past. The thermostat can be programmed to set itself up and down at specific times. The home owner saves money, the environment is protected because energy is not used to heat an empty house and the family does not freeze and grouse.

The electronic, programmable set-back thermostat is installed just like a manual one, except that the electronic one needs batteries. The units are not difficult to install and for the handy, the installation does not require a professional. For the less adept, installation costs between fifty and one hundred dollars.

If you are purchasing the electronic, programmable set-back thermostat from a home center, it is very important to get the correct model for your furnace or heat pump. There are models which will only operate a furnace, ones which will trigger a central air conditioning system too and then there are ones for heat pumps.

The heat pump models normally fall into two categories: those for single stage heat pumps and those for multi-stage heat pumps. It is very important to ascertain which kind of heat pump is in the house before purchasing an electronic, programmable set-back thermostat. A multi-stage thermostat will not correctly operate a single stage heat pump and the thermostat meant for a single stage heat pump will not use all the features of a multi-stage heat pump. If there is any kind of confusion about which kind of heat pump is in the house, it is better to call a professional or the manufacturer to clarify this issue before spending the money for a thermostat.

As far as costs go, an electronic, programmable set-back thermostat will cost between $45 and $125 depending on how complex the model is and what kind of furnaces and heat pumps it supports. When compared to the cost of a manual thermostat, $5 to $15, that seems steep. But consider this: according to the sales person at the local home center, "the average set-back thermostat saves 25% to 30% on the monthly heating and cooling bill." For a family heating with expensive oil, that can be a substantial savings in one month, for a family heating with cheaper gas or electricity there thermostat may take a few months, or even a whole heating season to pay for itself. But after that an electronic, programmable set-back thermostat pays it all back and more in comfort, environmental peace of mind and money in the pocket.

Trending Now

© High Speed Ventures 2011