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Programmable and Smart Thermostat Mistakes to Avoid

A change of 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you up to 10 percent in heating and AC costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A programmable or smart thermostat makes it easier to stay on top of temperature changes — if you use the device correctly. Take a look at the top thermostat mistakes homeowners should watch out for.

Improper DIY Installation

Unlike older traditional thermostats, new programmable and smart thermostats are complex devices. While these thermostats are easy for homeowners to use, they typically require professional installation. Failure to install the thermostat correctly will lead to functional problems. In other words, you’ll lose (or at least decrease) your ability to accurately program the device.

Without the accuracy that a quality programmable or smart thermostat can provide, you won’t have control over your home’s temperature. This can result in unexpected changes, higher energy usage, and increased heating or cooling bills.

Along with the technical installation, it’s also possible to choose the wrong room or interior space for the device. If the thermostat is in a draft room, in an area that gets excessive sunlight, or near a humid and steamy bathroom or kitchen, it may not read the temperature correctly. The ideal place for a thermostat is on an interior wall of a well-used room, away from the sun or a draft.

A smart thermostat requires WiFi to work. This means the device needs a space that’s in the router’s range. An HVAC professional can help you to find the perfect place for a programmable or smart thermostat and complete the installation for you.

Improper Use

Did you turn the heat off to save money? A programmable or smart thermostat allows you to set temperature changes or make changes remotely. These features allow you to make energy-saving adjustments easily without having to plan ahead.

While it might seem like turning the heat off in the winter (or the AC in the summer) can save you money, a sudden drop (or spike) in temperature can force your HVAC system into working overtime after it kicks back on.

Never use the programmable or remote thermostat settings to constantly cycle your system off and on. Not only should you keep the thermostat on, you should also avoid extreme temperature changes. Instead, set the temperature in a range between 8 and 10 degrees of your usual temperature to maximize the energy (and money) saving benefits.

Improper Maintenance

You clean or replace the furnace’s filter regularly and make sure the ducts are debris-free. But what about the thermostat? Like the rest of your home’s HVAC system, the thermostat also requires regular maintenance. While it’s easy to skip maintenance, failure to care for your thermostat can reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency or result in premature failure.

Routinely dust or gently wipe off the exterior of your thermostat. This reduces the likelihood of potential clogs and other debris-related issues. Even though physical care is an important part of the thermostat’s upkeep, it isn’t the only way to maintain the device. If your thermostat uses an accompanying app, don’t forget the electronic maintenance. Update the app regularly.

If your thermostat has backup batteries, make sure to replace them every season or when the unit tells you the power is low. While your home’s electrical system will power the thermostat most of the time, a storm, high winds, or other loss of electricity can erase a programmable model’s settings. A working battery backup should keep your set temperatures constant.

Do you need a professional to install or help you to maintain your programmable or smart thermostat? Contact JR Putman Plumbing, Heating and Air for more information on your options.

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