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View Full Version : Life The impact of a programmable thermostat?


jAZ
06-10-2010, 11:26 AM
Wow, so we bought a new house nearly 2 years ago. A little over a year ago, we installed a programmable thermostat and around the same time setup 'flat billing' with our electric company (they bill you a flat bill every month based on the average of the prior 12 months... the first year I owned the house and before the programmable thermostat).

So today I just got a notice that over the last year, when I was using the programmable thermostat, my usage dropped from an average of $130 per month to $90 per month.

That's amazing to me.

Now, I'm a little pissed that I paid an extra $40/month for the last year, but when I set this up, I didn't expect such an impact in savings.

That's a nearly 30% reduction in energy use just by putting in a programmable thermostat. Crazy.

Phobia
06-10-2010, 11:29 AM
Now, I'm a little pissed that I paid an extra $40/month for the last year

Let it go. You did well. Congratulations.

We put one in the moment I bought this house so I have no comparison but they're proven effective.

ChiTown
06-10-2010, 11:30 AM
Let it go. You did well. Congratulations.

We put one in the moment I bought this house so I have no comparison but they're proven effective.

We've had one for 15 years (I think). They are wonderful.

Rain Man
06-10-2010, 11:32 AM
Gotta love the programmable thermostat. I'm surprised the utility companies don't send hitmen after the people who make them.

TrebMaxx
06-10-2010, 11:42 AM
I am surprised that building codes don't require programmable thermostats.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-10-2010, 11:45 AM
Westar sent a notice in last months bill they would come install one FREE in your home.

SenselessChiefsFan
06-10-2010, 11:45 AM
The impact of the programmable thermostat is dependent on how hard you throw it.

Baconeater
06-10-2010, 11:48 AM
I've never installed one for two reasons. In the summer when it's really hot out, it's easier to keep a house cool than to let it get warm and try to cool it back down an hour before we get home. Maybe my AC just sucks, but whatever temperature the house is at noon is what the temp is when I get home, there's no getting it to drop even a degree or two in the heat of the day. And second, in the winter, I heat my home primarily with a woodstove, so my usage is minimal.

jAZ
06-10-2010, 12:05 PM
I've never installed one for two reasons. In the summer when it's really hot out, it's easier to keep a house cool than to let it get warm and try to cool it back down an hour before we get home. Maybe my AC just sucks, but whatever temperature the house is at noon is what the temp is when I get home, there's no getting it to drop even a degree or two in the heat of the day. And second, in the winter, I heat my home primarily with a woodstove, so my usage is minimal.

You wouldn't get nearly 30% efficiency. But you could set it to kick on at noon and let it float up a few degrees at night after you've gone to bed.

What I like in particular is the reset points it has.

So we set ours to default to 80 degrees (surprisingly comfortable in Arizona). If it's starting to feel uncomfortable, you bump it down 1-3 degrees and it kicks on for a while... brings it down to the right temp... and then a couple hours later, it's back to 80 degrees. And it might be 12 hours or 2 days before I bump it back down a few degrees. So it's not sitting there running 3 degrees colder than I really expect.

Great technology.

We had it in our prior house, but I don't recall such a drop in savings largely because we weren't on a flat-pay that reset it's pay level after 1 year. That was a a real surprise.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-10-2010, 12:12 PM
I've never installed one for two reasons. In the summer when it's really hot out, it's easier to keep a house cool than to let it get warm and try to cool it back down an hour before we get home. Maybe my AC just sucks, but whatever temperature the house is at noon is what the temp is when I get home, there's no getting it to drop even a degree or two in the heat of the day. And second, in the winter, I heat my home primarily with a woodstove, so my usage is minimal.

no, it's not. thats the whole idea. you WILL spend more energy keeping a home at 72 all day than letting it creep to 78 then cool back down.

mlyonsd
06-10-2010, 12:16 PM
You're looking at the usage numbers on your bills, not the $$'s right?

Since you're on a flat pay system that gets averaged and probably adjusted periodically depending on usage, you might not be saving as much as you're thinking. It could get adjusted up in the future. Just say'in.

Donger
06-10-2010, 12:16 PM
I few degrees increase (or decrease) in set point temperatures will save you that much, yes. Of course, just don't teach anyone to use the HOLD function.

Baconeater
06-10-2010, 12:28 PM
no, it's not. thats the whole idea. you WILL spend more energy keeping a home at 72 all day than letting it creep to 78 then cool back down.
You're missing the point. Once my house hits 78, there's no getting it back down to 75 during the heat of the day. Yes, I will use more energy, but it's the only way I'm going to have the house be at the desired temp when I get home.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-10-2010, 12:31 PM
You're missing the point. Once my house hits 78, there's no getting it back down to 75 during the heat of the day. Yes, I will use more energy, but it's the only way I'm going to have the house be at the desired temp when I get home.

your statement that it's easier to keep a house cool if the temp is constant isn't true...thats what I replied to. Your house may be a different story.

Baconeater
06-10-2010, 12:36 PM
your statement that it's easier to keep a house cool if the temp is constant isn't true...thats what I replied to. Your house may be a different story.
Ah yes, I was just talking about my specific situation. It kinda pisses me off, when I replaced my AC a couple years ago, I told the guy I wanted something twice as powerful as what I had before thinking that it would last longer if I wasn't running the **** out of it all summer. He told me some horseshit about why I couldn't do that and insisted the new unit would be fine, and it's the same goddamn way the old one was.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-10-2010, 12:45 PM
Ah yes, I was just talking about my specific situation. It kinda pisses me off, when I replaced my AC a couple years ago, I told the guy I wanted something twice as powerful as what I had before thinking that it would last longer if I wasn't running the **** out of it all summer. He told me some horseshit about why I couldn't do that and insisted the new unit would be fine, and it's the same goddamn way the old one was.

A unit must be sized for the home it's on. Too small and it cycles all the time because it can't keep up. Too large can also be a problem in that it cools off too quickly and the stat registers that, but your home's air will not be dehumidified properly, leading to other problems. Obviously equipment cycling wears it out. Plus you will pay more for the larger equipment upfront and in utilities.

Baconeater
06-10-2010, 12:54 PM
A unit must be sized for the home it's on. Too small and it cycles all the time because it can't keep up. Too large can also be a problem in that it cools off too quickly and the stat registers that, but your home's air will not be dehumidified properly, leading to other problems. Obviously equipment cycling wears it out. Plus you will pay more for the larger equipment upfront and in utilities.
Yeah, I remember him saying something about it not dehumidifying. But I still think the unit is too small because it can barely keep up, if it's 90+ out it never stops running. It's already developed some rattles, I feel like the thing may just blow up at any moment.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-10-2010, 01:00 PM
Yeah, I remember him saying something about it not dehumidifying. But I still think the unit is too small because it can barely keep up, if it's 90+ out it never stops running. It's already developed some rattles, I feel like the thing may just blow up at any moment.

He probably had no clue on how to properly size the equipment. If it was done recently, I'd look into it.

Baconeater
06-10-2010, 01:12 PM
He probably had no clue on how to properly size the equipment. If it was done recently, I'd look into it.
I think he just went with the same size that was already there and attributed the fact that it had to work so hard to it being so old. It sounded good to me at the time, but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to HVAC so I was in no position to argue with him about it anyway.

ct
06-10-2010, 01:23 PM
You're missing the point. Once my house hits 78, there's no getting it back down to 75 during the heat of the day. Yes, I will use more energy, but it's the only way I'm going to have the house be at the desired temp when I get home.

I have a similar problem, but I use the programmable and deal with it to save energy and $. Your issue is your HOUSE, not your AC. Windows, insulation, sky light windows, which is my problem. Who the F puts a day light window on the south side of a vaulted ceiling living room? I'm about to cover the damn thing up in the summer time and start a campfire for lighting in the LR, might be cooler!


ct

jAZ
06-10-2010, 01:26 PM
You're looking at the usage numbers on your bills, not the $$'s right?

Since you're on a flat pay system that gets averaged and probably adjusted periodically depending on usage, you might not be saving as much as you're thinking. It could get adjusted up in the future. Just say'in.

It's a letter, and I just re-read it.

The drop is not just energy savings.

It's energy savings + the accumulated overpay credit divided by the 12 months this rate is fixed at.

So you are brilliant and I'm less excited than before.

Buehler445
06-10-2010, 01:28 PM
Bug, find the dude and light his ass on fire. That's the only way.
Posted via Mobile Device

Rain Man
06-10-2010, 01:40 PM
Unrelated story, but we have a swamp cooler on our third floor that cools the house. (No need for air conditioning.) The swamp cooler isn't hooked to any ductwork, so all the cool air for the house blows through one entry duct that's about 18x18 inches, and is right in front of my closet at about waist height. Let me tell you, when you're standing in front of the closet trying to decide what to wear that day, and you're standing directly in the line of that airflow, you make your decision in a hurry.

Baconeater
06-10-2010, 01:46 PM
I have a similar problem, but I use the programmable and deal with it to save energy and $. Your issue is your HOUSE, not your AC. Windows, insulation, sky light windows, which is my problem. Who the F puts a day light window on the south side of a vaulted ceiling living room? I'm about to cover the damn thing up in the summer time and start a campfire for lighting in the LR, might be cooler!


ct
The house is part of the issue for sure, while I think it's adequately insulated, most of my windows are 45 yrs old and they suck ass. Plus there's an addition on the end of the house that doesn't get good airflow through the ductwork, and that's where the Mrs hangs out a lot. The main part of the house has to be 75 for the addition to be 78, and to top it off it has multiple windows on all three sides that get sun nearly all day long.

mlyonsd
06-10-2010, 01:48 PM
It's a letter, and I just re-read it.

The drop is not just energy savings.

It's energy savings + the accumulated overpay credit divided by the 12 months this rate is fixed at.

So you are brilliant and I'm less excited than before.

Sorry. Wasn't trying to ruin your day but eventually when you got a letter saying it was going up you'd have figured it out.

Back in the 80's I wrote the code for our customer system that did the same thing as your flat pay. We called it Bonus 12 and if your account was in the black we paid you interest. The code took into account the last three year's usage to calculate an average payment. Problem was during years with high usage accounts would go in the red. When it came time to re-calculate the new monthly payment some customers freaked when they saw it jump.

Dunit35
06-10-2010, 02:57 PM
I've been wondering, what's better?

A. Setting the AC around 77 and letting it run off and on all day to stay at that range.

or

B. Waking up in the morning and changing it to 83 degrees and when I get home from work (usually around 7-8 pm) turning it down to 79 again. It takes longer to cool down but isn't running for around 8-10 hours a day.

What's cheaper?