If you are serious about making green interior design modifications to your home then one of the first things you will contemplate doing is installing one or more programmable thermostats in your home. Energy efficiency is a big part of being green nowadays – it reduces the amount of non-renewable resources used and cuts down on green house gas emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels.
There is a wide variety of programmable thermostats to choose from on the market. To make the right choice it is necessary to keep in mind a few simple pointers.
The best programmable thermostats are those that have been credited with the Energy Star seal of approval. Energy Star was set up by the US Government and its standards for environmentally friendly design have been adopted in many countries around the world.
It is vital before purchasing a digital programmable thermostat to choose one that can manage the HVAC system in your home. If you have a 24 volt system that uses central air, air-con units, a heat pump or gas fireplaces a good choice is either the Honeywell RTH8500D or the Honeywell RTH7600D. Both of these thermostats have nearly universal compatibility and can manage up to 2 stages of cooling and heating.
There are thermostats such as the Honeywell RTH221B that have only 1 program to set up. These are suitable primarily for retired people or those who work from home. Then there are 5+2 thermostats that have 2 programs – one for weekdays and one for weekends. This is good for those with regular working hours and who keep similar hours at the weekend. A 5-1-1 digital thermostat offers 3 programs – one for weekdays, one for Saturday and one for Sunday. The greatest flexibility is offered by 7 day thermostats that have a program for each day of the week.
Whichever type of thermostat you choose make sure you get one with 4 periods per program. This is vital as it will allow you to match the heating/cooling with your schedule and thus save you money. The type of thermostat you choose will depend on your life style. It is important to get one that suits you.
There are a number of functions on programmable thermostats that are designed to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient. The most important functions are adaptive intelligent recovery that uses a PID controller to make continual adjustments to start times so a home is always comfortable at the start of a programmed period.
Swing control is a useful function that lets the user choose a range of 1 or 2 degrees around the set point temperature. Within this range the thermostat does not activate the heating or cooling. This function stops the HVAC continually turning on and off with every small change in room temperature.
Temporary hold or home today is a handy function that lets the user quickly override the program if he or she is a bit hot or cold or if he or she is having a day off work. Similar to temporary hold is vacation mode that lets the user put the programs on hold while they are away. A good vacation mode will also have a timer so that the house is comfortable on return from vacation.
The idea of a programmable thermostat is that your house is warm when you get home, without needing to leave the heat on while you are out. These are the most important things to consider when buying a programmable thermostat.