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Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing Blog

Avoid These Top 5 Mistakes With Programmable Thermostats

Adjusting a digital thermostat

Programmable thermostats can be a game changer when it comes to home comfort. Especially in upstate New York where we deal with rowdy temperature fluctuations that have caused many a resident to say, “Go home, Rochester, you’re drunk.” It could be 4°F below zero one day and 45°F the next.

But are you using your programmable thermostat to the best of its ability? With heating and cooling technology getting smarter by the minute, we now can control our programmable thermostat from anywhere. But there are several mistakes homeowners are making when it comes to their programmable thermostats. Avoid these mistakes to get the most out of your heating system this winter:

  • Setting A Higher Temp to Warm House Quicker

Brr. It’s cold out there. And when you came home from work, it’s cold in here too. But stay away from the thermostat, she knows what she’s doing. Setting the temperature higher than normal will definitely make you feel warmer, but it will not happen faster. The thermostat does not have control over the speed at which your house heats up – that has everything to do with how well-insulated your home is and how efficiently your ducts are working. What it will do is make you increasingly warm and cause your furnace to spend excess energy warming your house. If you need to warm up quickly, your best bet is to throw the kettle on, wrap yourself in an extra layer and wait for the temperature to increase as scheduled with a cup of tea in hand. To allow enough time for your house to warm up from your programmed setback temperature, program the temperature change for an hour before you arrive home from work.

  • Keeping Heat at a Constant Temperature

Oh, no, no, no. The biggest energy waster. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust your home’s temperature according to when you are home. You can and should set the temperature for what works best for your family’s comfort and financial situation. Your home temperature should be set cooler during sleeping hours and when household members are at work or school. Comfort is relative, but it’s generally agreed that 68°F to 70°F is a comfortable temperature for awake hours, while 64°F is preferable for sleeping and while away from the home. A programmable thermometer allows you to set these temperatures for the times you prefer and saves you money on your energy bill to boot.

  • Turning Off The Heat Entirely

A rookie homeowner’s mistake. Thinking they’ll save money by turning off the furnace when traveling during February break, only to discover the delights of a burst pipe upon their return. Big Oops. The beauty of a programmable thermostat is that you can set the temperature much lower than usual – without turning it off entirely – when you leave for extended periods. Use a setback temperature of about 60°F or slightly lower while away.

  • Installing Thermostats In Bad Locations

Your thermostat should be installed on interior walls away from direct sunlight, windows, and heat sources to allow for accurate readings. Thermostats also need to receive sufficient airflow – so avoid placement of bulky furniture directly in front of or below. This ensures that your furnace is getting accurate readings so that it can function properly.

At Potter, we know the value of efficient heating and cooling. If your furnace is struggling to keep pace with the heating demands of your house, or you are unconvinced your thermostat is giving accurate readings, we have several options that can help. From radiant in-floor heating to zoned and ductless mini-split units, there are many ways we can improve your home’s comfort.


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