Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Power Lines

Cool Trick: Put Your Thermostat on Autopilot

Power Lines

April 07, 2001|LYNN O'DELL

California's energy crisis is hitting home. Electricity bills are rising, and people are looking for ways to cut consumption and costs. This is the 13th in a series of energy-saving tips. Previous stories can be found at http://www.latimes.com

*

Coming home to a hot house is no fun in the summer. Neither is waking up to a cold one in the winter. But who can afford to run heating and cooling system all the time?

A programmable thermostat could be the solution. You can be comfortable and save energy dollars at the same time.

As a bonus, you get the answer to a common energy conundrum: If I shut off my heater or air-conditioner when I leave the house, doesn't it cost more to get the house back to the right temperature when I return?

No, say energy experts. It costs more to try to maintain a set temperature day and night. By letting the temperature rise to 85 degrees while no one's home and then dropping it to 78 degrees in the evening, you can save up to 25% on your cooling bills, according to the California Energy Commission, which has a Web site at http://www.con

sumerenergycenter.org (click on Home and Work, then Homes and then Tighten It Up).

Winter heating bills can be cut as much as 75% with a programmable thermostat set for 68 degrees in the daytime and 55 degrees at night, studies show. You can achieve the same savings with a manual thermostat--it's just less convenient.

All programmable thermostats will automatically start and stop your heating and cooling system at least twice in a 24-hour period. Most allow you to set one schedule for weekdays and another for weekends, and some feature customized programming for every day.

New houses in California with central heat and air-conditioning are required to have programmable thermostats, and they can easily be added to older homes for $100 to $250, plus an installation fee, said Paul Biard of P and M Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Santa Ana.

Programmable thermostats pay for themselves in energy savings in about a year, according to the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings ($8.95 online at http://www.aceee .org), published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

*

Send your questions or suggestions regarding energy use to Home Design, Los Angeles Times, Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, or send e-mail to ocsocalliv@latimes.com. Please include your name and phone number.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|