Programmable Savings with a Wi-Fi Enabled Thermostat

Programmable Savings with a Wi-Fi Enabled Thermostat
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    Even though conservation and efficiency efforts have increased as of late, there is still one area that needs adjustment.

    In terms of wasted energy, the spikes that result from constantly readjusting your thermostat account for a hefty portion of your electricity bill and carbon output.

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In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that over 50% of a home’s utility bill derives from the heating and cooling system. When you consider just what that means every time you touch your thermostat, you begin to think twice before making an adjustment.

Fortunately, programmable thermostats are quickly becoming the norm, and with the widespread utility of smartphones and related apps, taking back the reins on temperature control is well within reach. Although there are many choices for different budgets, here are a couple of the better options on the market.

Honeywell’s Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

Complete with a free app for Apple and Android devices, this Wi-Fi enabled thermostat puts your temperature control at your fingertips – literally, with its DIY installation and touchscreen or remote access options. When used as directed, Honeywell’s universally-compatible thermostat can save up to 33% on annual heating and cooling costs.

It allows you to set the system according to your individual needs – up to four programmed times per day – and provides a measure for the unit to reach the temperatures you desire gradually rather than with one quick punch of a button. And with its Smart Response Technology, this thermostat learns to pre-heat/cool your home to maximize your comfort at your pre-programmed times.

You can purchase Honeywell’s Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat for about $100, give or take, and there are many satisfied customers who will tell you it’s worth every penny.

Ecobee’s Smart Si Thermostat

If you’re a believer of "you get what you pay for," you may be interested in Ecobee’s Smart Si Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, which comes in around the $200 range. A model of artificial intelligence in a thermostat, the Smart Si monitors the weather outside as well as in your home and learns your temperature preferences while it works out ways to save you money and energy.

At the same time, Ecobee’s Home IQ program calculates your home’s historical energy data and compares your heating and cooling system against a benchmark to provide you with monthly energy savings and usages that you can actually see with Home IQ’s cool graphic displays.

If that wasn’t enough, the Smart Si will actually alert you to areas in your home where energy is leaking: it will let you know when it’s time to upgrade your system or take preventative measures on your doors and windows. And this serves as a well-timed reminder that having a smart thermostat isn’t all we should be doing to save.

Basic Tips for Cutting Costs and Conserving Energy around the House

In addition to updating your thermostat, there are other ways to break your bad habits of over-spending in the home energy department without breaking the bank in the process:

  • Properly seal doors and windows: This leak-eliminating improvement can be as simple as applying a thin bead of caulking or weather-stripping around your door jambs and window casings.
  • Pay attention to your window treatments: This is actually a two-fold tip depending on the type of window coverings you employ.
    • Blinds: Keeping blinds closed during the hottest parts of the day will help block the sun’s heat-bringing beams from warming up your rooms, but keeping them open during the remaining daytime hours allows you to turn off some lights and let the sunlight to be your friend.
    • Curtains or drapes with multiple layers: Use a light-colored fabric as the backing in order to reflect the sun’s harmful UV rays back into the atmosphere. This will help you keep costs down all year long.
  • Install motion detecting light switches: This tip goes hand-in-hand with "unplug appliances and electrical equipment when you don’t need them" – you are not using them, so why risk leaving them on?
  • Decide what you want from the fridge before you open it: Standing in front of an open refrigerator is like running the AC or heat full blast with a door or window open. Opening the fridge just long enough to grab what you want (and only when you’re hungry) not only helps cut down on wasted electricity and energy, but it will also help cut down on wasted calories that you consume only because that pie is staring you in the face!

By switching over to a programmable thermostat and incorporating some of the energy-saving tips above, you can reduce the size of your carbon footprint and keep more cash in your account.

Do you have a favorite programmable thermostat you can recommend? What about other ideas for improving overall cost and energy-efficiency?

Guest poster Garret Stembridge works and blogs for www.extraspace.com, a leading provider of self storage units. He writes about sustainability, moving, and storage oddities.

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