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Programmable home A/C thermostats

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Programmable home A/C thermostats

Old 01-14-2015, 06:25 PM
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Default Programmable home A/C thermostats

Do's, don'ts?
How many degrees do you turn it up while you are away from home?
Have you noticed a savings?
Is it harder on the equipment to run programmed settings vs. leaving it alone?
I just put in a new system, never had a stat like this. I want to make sure I'm doing the "right" thing and not a "feel good" thing...
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:35 PM
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I program mine to come on 30 minutes before we awake and shut down 30 minutes Before we leave on weekdays. Then on 60 minutes before we normally get home and reduce 60 minutes before we go to bed. I usually adjust temperature change of 4-6 degrees differential only. I think if you do larger differential you need to adjust your start up times earlier. 3 units and house is always comfortable and my highest bill was just over $300 last year(Christmas and kids home,etc.). My previous house had one unit and was not insulated nearly as well and bill was on average more. Good move.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:10 PM
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You're in FL, I didn't think you needed a furnace!

In Mich, turn it down 6 degrees or so when not around. It's not harder on the system to do this, actually easier IMO, less starting and stopping. The savings is due to the less temperature differential between outside vs in when the temp has dropped when away. Less temp diff = less heat lost.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:19 PM
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I run mine up to 80 or 81 around when I leave and back to 72 30 min before I get home. Yes you will see a difference from the new unit and the thermostat.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:20 PM
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If it's a heat pump, the heating setback of more than 2 degrees will bring on auxiliary heat. That will eat up any energy savings you had. Use a outdoor temperature sensor to control strips.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by slper View Post
Do's, don'ts?
How many degrees do you turn it up while you are away from home?
Have you noticed a savings?
Is it harder on the equipment to run programmed settings vs. leaving it alone?
I just put in a new system, never had a stat like this. I want to make sure I'm doing the "right" thing and not a "feel good" thing...
TJackson is on to something.

I have a gas boiler and radiant water heat. Boiler guy says program t-stat's aren't very good for boilers.

A heat pump will go to resistance heat (electric??) if there is more than a 2 degree drop. It's OK to use the setback feature, but electric heat is expensive.

Much depends on the type of furnace/boiler/heat pump you have.
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:16 PM
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I have never liked programmable thermostats. They will save you some money if set up right under the right circumstances. However, when it's really hot and if the system is sized properly, you won't recover the temperature difference in an hour and you won't achieve comfort control in less than 24 hours.

It's a long involved "argument" with some assumptions. Properly sized means that it will run 24 hrs a day on the hottest day (theoretical). Over sized units will cool quickly, but don't run long enough to remove humidity. 2 stage or multiple units help with humidity control. Like I said, this could be a long discussion that would require a lot of information.

On the heating side, I can't stand to have the heat come on trying to make up 10 degrees just before I get up. It tends to dry out the house causing respiratory problems, even nose bleeds.

Radiant heat and heat pumps should not have programmable thermostats for reasons already mentioned.

Having said all that, each system and each occupant are different. If you're going to use a programmable, less is better and try different settings to see what works for you. Mine is set at "manual" and is seldom changed more than a couple of degrees (the house is seldom unoccupied).
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:00 AM
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Dave is spot on

I too hate programmable thermostats

NC code recently changed. For new gas furnace installs, a programmable thermostat is required. For HP installs standard thermostats are still allowed but you must incorporate an outdoor sensor that keeps the aux strips off unless it's below 35 degrees outside.

If you set a hp system back on a 38 degree day it's going to take awhile to warm the house back up.

-----------------------------------

I have hp's and if I want to warm my house up faster with 45 degree warmer air (difference in temp going in vs coming out of system) then I want to make that decision myself. A hp without the aux strips on usually gives you 18-25 degree warmer air.

end of rant

-------------------------------------

I believe the op was talking about setting the ac higher while away.

I would only do this if away for a weekend or more, not just when going to work for the day. The more modern your house is AND THE BETTER IT'S INSULATED (being modern does not gaurantee good insulation or building practices) the more you can get away with setting it back.


imo - programmable and these new wifi thermostats take control away from the design engineers and puts control into the hands of the ignorant homeowner.

not using ignorant as a derogatory term but rather as a descriptive one. No offense intended You're not supposed to understand stuff like sensible and latent heat.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:14 AM
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72 year 'round. With the exception of maybe 5 days per year, on AC all the time.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:31 AM
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I'm liking the nest, if you mess with it, you can customize most of the downsides of a standard programable stat out of it. Mine is on a 2 zone hydronic that also has one of the intelligent burner controls and a grundfos alpha circulator. I probably haven't saved any money, but its fun to mess with. This is screen shot of heat demand from the nest.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
I'm liking the nest, if you mess with it, you can customize most of the downsides of a standard programable stat out of it. Mine is on a 2 zone hydronic that also has one of the intelligent burner controls and a grundfos alpha circulator. I probably haven't saved any money, but its fun to mess with. This is screen shot of heat demand from the nest.
Looks like morse code
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:45 AM
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I have a Honeywell programmable thermostat and never programmed it. I just leave it on permanent hold between 70*-72* during the day and 68* at night.



.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:56 AM
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I would get a nest. I have the programable one but its always at 68 due to our strange schedules.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:06 AM
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Set the cooling up no more than 3*F and the heating no more than 2*F if it's on a heat pump.

Depending on the stat it may have a smart recovery feature that will learn what it takes to heat or cool your house to your desired temperatures and will come on early to achieve your programmed setpoint at the programmed time.

Used properly they can help save money, how much will depend on how you like to heat/cool your home.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
I'm liking the nest, if you mess with it, you can customize most of the downsides of a standard programable stat out of it. Mine is on a 2 zone hydronic that also has one of the intelligent burner controls and a grundfos alpha circulator. I probably haven't saved any money, but its fun to mess with. This is screen shot of heat demand from the nest.
That right there is the conundrum that I live with almost daily. The tech side of me says "Ain't that cool". The practical side of me says "What a silly waste of time". My 20 year younger GF would probably say "Generational gap".

I also have to laugh when I see the commercials promoting 60 minutes of outdoor playtime for kids. When I was a kid, if I was in the house for 60 minutes, my mother had me helping her reupholster a Queen Ann chair. Then again, my GF constantly struggles with her weight while I weigh 170lbs at 5' 11".
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by davedowneast View Post
I have never liked programmable thermostats.
Originally Posted by baypro21 View Post
Dave is spot on

I too hate programmable thermostats
I don't like the programmable feature either. Lighted digital display is nice.

Having a problem now with one now that does not seem to be making contact, so heat will not come on even though unit displays it's sending the signal.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by skillet64 View Post
I program mine to come on 30 minutes before we awake and shut down 30 minutes Before we leave on weekdays. Then on 60 minutes before we normally get home and reduce 60 minutes before we go to bed. I usually adjust temperature change of 4-6 degrees differential only. I think if you do larger differential you need to adjust your start up times earlier.
There are thermostats that let you set temperature X you want at time Y. Those t'stats will start the furnace early enough to make sure the temperature is Y at time X. Our Lux t'stat takes about 2 days after being programmed to figure out how to do that. We programmed a setback to 65 degrees overnight, then back to 70 at 5:00 AM. Furnace comes on between 3:30 and 4:30 AM depending on how cold it is outside and by 5:00 AM the house is at 70. It does this without an outside temperature sensor.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:54 AM
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I have a honeywell, IMO better than the nest. I am in SFL so that is going to be different than someone up in the NE. We keep it at 78 during the day then 74 30 mins before we come home, then 72 when we sleep. The summer is a different story. Its really nice to be able to turn off the system if the gf has cranked it down lol.

Comparing my bill to last year I am down around 8% each month, I have had the unit for 5 months.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:13 AM
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I didn't go back to a heat pump this time. Just addition parts to fail when I only run the heat a few days out of the year. I have had the system a week and I tried working out a comfortable temp based on a more accurate stat vs. The old analog one. This in it's self has started to aggravate me to the point I'm not going to use the program feature. I traveled for work this week and I come home, wake up with a wet pillow from sweat. Not happy...
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:55 PM
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I bought a house many years ago and the gas budget for that home was $157 per month. It was an older home but fairly well insulated. It also had a boiler for heat. Once I installed the programmable thermostat I noticed my budget dropping each year until it bottomed out at $106 per month. That programmable thermostat paid for itself over and over again.

I have put one in every place I have owned since. There is a savings by reducing heat or A/C when no one is home and when sleeping.

I have mine set at 73* for both the heat and A/C when we are home. At night for sleeping the heat drops to 64* and the A/C is set for 77* when no one is home.

I would not be without one.
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