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  • Save Energy with an Energy Star Certified Thermostat

    Although Energy Star has been a marker for efficient televisions and other appliances for years, it has not been applied to thermostats until this year. This is interesting because setting the thermostat properly may be the biggest energy saver in a home. Commonwealth Edison estimated that 30-35% of cooling energy use could be reduced by choosing efficient thermostat set points. Consumer Reports notes that a thermostat has the most potential of any energy-saving device to save homeowners money. So, why wasn't there a certified thermostat until this year?

    Programmable thermostats have had a learning curve in recent years. Many homeowners didn't use them properly. This made it difficult to develop a standard for the thermostat itself because it was not used according to the specifications. Manufacturers have responded by making recent models more intuitive and easier to program. Based on these improvements, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency was able to issue a new standard for wifi-enabled thermostats at the end of 2016.

    The Nest thermostat was the first Energy Star certified thermostat under the new rules. Like other wifi-connected thermostats, the Nest offers the ability to access the thermostat from your smartphone. The system "learns" your preferred temperatures and starts to adapt the system for maximum efficiency. It also tracks energy usage, so homeowners can adjust preferences to save money and energy.

    The EPA estimates that using a certified thermostat, like Nest, can save homeowners up to 8% in energy costs per year. This amounts to at least a $50 savings per year. While that doesn't seem like a lot, the energy savings add up as more people embrace the Energy Star certified thermostats. If every thermostat worked as efficiently, the savings could reach 56 trillion BTU and offset 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. That's the equivalent of taking 1.2 million motor vehicles off of the road. Although it may take some time to pay off the cost of a new thermostat, the increased efficiency eventually benefits home and business owners.

    As part of a heating, air conditioning and ventilation remodel or new purchase, homeowners should consider an Energy Star certified thermostat. Even using the new thermostat with old equipment will lead to savings. Combining the new thermostat with a properly sized HVAC system is even better. That 8% savings will likely increase with the purchase of an appropriate HVAC system because older equipment is sometimes the wrong size or less efficient than newer models. For those not ready to purchase a new HVAC, buying an Energy Star certified thermostat is a good step in the direction of greater efficiency and cost savings.

  • Hysteresis Thermostat and What You Should Know

    Hysteresis Thermostat Hysteresis Thermostat

    Individuals get hung up over complicated terminologies like ‘hysteresis’ and more often than not, these terms can be simplified with an easy explanation that can be understood by anyone. In the same manner, hysteresis is considered an engineering terminology that is used to explain a simple ‘lag.’ It is specifically the way that a reaction lags a step or an action. Let’s take a closer look at this simple example below.

    An Example

    If you were to squeeze a piece of foam and then release it, you would hear a popping sound as if it popped back to its original form. However, it does not do so immediately. It goes back to its normal state in a slow motion. It lags this action until the release of your hands. Other forms of hysteresis are the same way.

    The Thermostat

    The common use of hysteresis is during the use of magnetic and electronic systems. Thermostats are a perfect example. Without using technical applications and definitions of hysteresis, let’s look at how it applies to thermostats. The hysteresis thermostat also goes through a similar motion; it lags inputs from the surroundings for the main purpose of saving energy as well as preventing a furnace or air conditioner from enduring wear and tear as it frequently turns on and off.

    Poor Insulation

    If you live in a house that is poorly insulated and the temperature outside is a scorching 104 degrees, your main concern is how long it will take for the heat to penetrate your house while the air conditioning unit is running. Believe it or not, this would not take long. With a good HVAC system, your house will cool to about 72 degrees, which is quite comfortable. When the insulation is insufficient, in about one minute, the temperature will increase to 73 degrees and your air conditioner will kick in again. This cycle continues to be repeated frequently as your air conditioning unit is overworking due to the poor insulation. It is, therefore, difficult to maintain the comfortable temperature in the home.

    Saving Energy

    You would not classify this thermostat as a hysteresis thermostat because of its lack of hysteresis in the programming. For that reason, it will constantly turn on and off. With a hysteresis thermostat, you can set your temperature to 72 degrees and be able to maintain it. Why? The temperature will go up to 74 degrees before cooling it to down to 71 degrees, allowing the HVAC system to relax. This saves on wear and tear and also fosters energy efficiency.

    Conclusion

    It is important to get your HVAC system working efficiently and therefore, you could consider using a hysteresis thermostat. It will definitely work in your best interest. Speak to a HVAC contractor to discuss your immediate needs.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rvthereyet/9098037736/

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