There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Some are inexpensive, and others can run into thousands of dollars. Programmable thermostats fall into the former category, providing a major return for a modest investment. When determining your particular investment and return, consider the following factors:
- Cost of thermostat: A programmable thermostat can cost as little as $12 and as much as $200, generally speaking. The less-expensive thermostats offer the least flexibility, typically running only one program for the week. The higher-priced thermostats will feature all the bells and whistles and allow you to run several programs. Choose the programmable thermostat that best suits your family’s size and schedule, keeping in mind that more flexibility will result in greater energy savings.
- Cost of installation: Armed with the manufacturer’s instructions and a screwdriver, you can install many of the programmable thermostats available yourself. In that case, the only cost will be your time. More complicated systems may require the expertise of an HVAC professional. Hiring such an expert also will allow you to receive an evaluation of your current system.
- Savings in utility costs: If you use your programmable thermostat properly (stick with the preprogrammed settings and keep your hands off the manual override) you may see up to a 20 percent reduction in your utility bills. Many factors can affect this number, though, so the only way to determine your particular savings is to compare the total spent on utility bills 12 months before installation to the total spent 12 months after. Even then, you will need to keep changing energy costs in mind, but the comparison will give you a general idea as to how much you saved.
Even if you only see the lower end of average savings, typically about 10 percent, it still qualifies as a major return when looking at an entire year’s worth of energy costs. To inquire about the installation of programmable thermostats and/or to schedule an evaluation of your current HVAC system, contact Pipe Works Services. Located in Chatham, we have been serving New Jersey homeowners since 2000.