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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Use the thermostat to save on winter heating costs

Programmable thermostats have the potential to save money with accuracy
Small habit changes can add up to substantial long-term savings
 Household budgets account for a wide range of expenses, including food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Energy costs are another large budget category for homeowners, who pay for electricity and heat for their homes.

While year round costs associated with powering household electronics, heating bath water, and creating heat to cook with are substantial in their own right, winter weather poses even greater cause for alarm, requiring additional resources to pay for the costs of keeping your domicile warm.   

Energy conservation and overall consciousness about responsible energy use are among the world's primary shared concerns.  To remain sustainable, planetary inhabitants are all in line for energy use adjustments, correcting a system that does not have sustainable parameters. In addition to acting in the collective good, responsible energy use leads to personal gains as well. 

By controlling waste, and remaining mindful of the energy we use, each individual stands to save money on overall energy costs. Powering down electronics, even unplugging them from the wall when not in use, ensures the greatest level of efficiency using electric powered devices.  Multiplied by the number of plugs going in to your wall outlets, and it is easy to see why substantial savings are on the table when energy conscious protocols are followed.

The actual price of energy is beyond the control of consumers, who must pay the going rate at the petrol pumps, and meet provider prices when buying electricity and heating energy.  What is possible for each energy customer to change is the commitment to change behaviors to more energy conscious practices.  While several fronts exist for savings, heating appliances are prime targets for reducing energy use.  Creating heat uses lots of fuel, so reducing your call for higher temperatures results in immediate savings on energy costs.

Lower your call for heat to save money immediately


There are many ways to trim household expenses, especially those relating to energy use.  Your thermostat regulates the temperature in your home by linking a thermometer with a device that fires your boiler.  When the temperature starts to fall below a certain point, the automated features kick-in, telling your heating unit it is time to start generating some BTUs.  As the temperature once again cycles into an acceptable range, the sending unit alerts the boiler to slow down on heat production until it is called for again.  The system regulates heat within your home over time, creating an average ambient condition selected on your thermostat.  The reality of most family schedules, however, leaves the house empty for long stretches during the day and has family members coming and going at all times.  As a result, boilers run too much, trying to keep up when heat is not even required by a home's occupants.  To save money on heating costs, lower the temperature setting on your thermostat.  Even minor adjustments, of a couple degrees, have dramatic impacts on overall utility bills over time.

Program thermostats for consistent winter savings


In addition to lowering temperature settings on thermostats, many modern energy conscious homeowners are moving toward the latest and greatest thermostat options.  Programmable models allow homeowners to input times and temperatures reflecting their families' heating needs.  When the kids are away at school, for example, settings can be lowered, for there is no one home to call for heat.  During the evening, when the entire family is gathering for dinner and leisure time, heat settings can be boosted to levels adequate for warming the whole gang.  There is no limit to the number of cycles programmed, so it is even possible to fire the boiler a short time before you are expected home, so that the house is toasty warm when you arrive.

Image license: Jill, jellidonut... what-ever, CC BY-SA 2.0