4) Please confirm this advice if you would; it is better to have your thermostat left at 70°F. to 72°F. during the day while your home is empty and adjust accordingly when you get home as opposed to shutting off the heater/ac and turning on when you get home. I would think this would put less strain on the unit. Thanks in advance for your help. The answer…….
It would be better for you turn the system off while you are work and then turn it back on again after you arrive at home. There is a better way though. You can purchase a programmable thermostat and set the thermostat to your schedule. You set the programmable to turn off approximately a half hour before you leave in the morning and then set it to turn on approximately a half hour before you come home. This means you will not have to wait for the house to warm up or cool down after arriving at home. The programmable thermostat will make sure that the system is on so that when you arrive home there is a degree of comfort for you.
The programmable thermostat should be set for a temperature differential of 3 ° F. to 5° F. above the comfort zone temperature if your system takes a while to cool or heat the house. If your system has no problem cooling or heating the house you can increase this temperature differential to 7° F. to 12° F. That is, when you leave home the programmable thermostat timer increase the temperature in the summer and decreases the temperature in the winter so when you are not home the HVAC system doesn’t cycle as much and you save in energy costs. The same can be said about when you sleep at night. Be comfortable for sure but you can increase or decrease the temperature when you are sleeping and with a programmable thermostat set it to bring the house to a comfortable temperature just before you wake up. This is better than turning the system off completely and it maintains reasonable temperatures in your home or business whether you are there or not. The thermostat pictured to the left is the Honeywell Touchscreen programmable thermostat.
One thing to note about this though is that if your system is undersized or your house is not properly insulated then the system will continuously run no matter where you set the thermostat. A properly insulated house with the correct sized air conditioning and heating system will gain you more efficiency and less power bill by turning the system off when you are not home for prolonged periods of time. Think about the system running when you are not at home and the good that it is doing. It is not benefiting anyone except maybe a pet. The programmable thermostat properly programmed will reduce the costs of your energy bill by at least ten percent (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). This makes perfect sense to me and have my thermostat in my home (a Honeywell Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat) set to do the same thing. Unless I come home early my home is comfortable when I arrive home because I set the programmable thermostat to come on thirty minutes before I arrive home.
I’ve seen a lot of air conditioning and heating systems and I would not recommend this to you if your air conditioner typically runs all the time. You have a problem that is well beyond the thermostat and needs to be corrected. I would start with the insulation in the home and then move up to having the system checked and resized to make sure it has been properly sized in the past. Only then would I say get a programmable thermostat especially if your air conditioner or heating system runs all the time due to inadequate sizing or poor insulation. If all is fine with that then get yourself a programmable thermostat and save yourself some money on your power bill. Turning off during the day is not going to strain the heating and cooling equipment to the point where you have to worry about replacing the system sooner rather than later but it will save you money in energy consumption.