Home Care Library
Programmable Thermostat Temperature Control
The Home Wizard app calculates your ideal home care program to avoid problems with your Programmable Thermostat, but sometimes trouble can still occur. Here are answers to questions about programmable thermostat temperature control.
QUESTION FROM Stephanie
Just bought a 100 year old house. My main question has to do with turning on and off the system during this cold than mild days of Oct. I grew up with electric heat and this is what we did, but I'm thinking that turning on an off this system isn't the way to go. Also, with electric heat you try and keep the house always at the same temp so you don't play with the programing much, is this true of steam heat or is it better to program variable temps throughout the day (depending when we'll be home).
ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD
Regarding the first part of your question, if you are wondering if during what's called the "shoulder months" when your heating demand for your house is relatively low and may fluctuate significantly, whether you should be turning your heating system off and on . . . then the answer is that it depends on the kind of heating system that you have and how it is setup to operate.
It sounds like you have a hot water boiler which I assume provides hot water to either room radiators or baseboard heaters. If you system is setup to circulate water only when a wall thermostat tells the system that the temperature is too low, which both turns on your furnace boiler to heat water and a pump to circulate this water, then it is fine to turn your system on and off. However, assuming that your thermostat is operating properly, then there is no reason to have to turn your system on and off, since the wall thermostat will do it for you. On the other hand, if in your 100 year-old house you have a system which for some reason is not thermostatically controlled, then you would need to turn the system on and off.
Regarding the second part of your question, depending on the cost of electricity in your region of the country, and cost of the type of programmable thermostat that you would need to purchase . . . yes, it can make good sense to have a programmable thermostat automatically adjusting the room temperature for you. For example, if you are gone during the day, you could have your programmable thermostat setup so that it keeps your house at lower temperature during the day, but it turns the heat up at a time that will allow your home to be at a comfortable temperature by the time that you get home. And similarly, you can have it turn down the heat a little bit while you are sleeping, then come up to a higher temperature for around the time that you will be getting up in the morning. Even dialing down a few degrees over the entire heating system can help save you money.
Hope this is helpful.