January 19, 2012

In general, programmable thermostats save homeowners money with the use of scheduled setbacks; however, heat pumps work differently. Therefore, to ensure energy savings, you need to know how to effectively use a heat-pump thermostat.

Like anywhere, Phoenix-area homeowners should consider setting back their thermostats at night or when they’re away from home to lock in savings. But setbacks can be counterproductive to savings if you’re using a standard manual thermostat. This is because heat pumps don’t do a good job of making the several-degree switch from a night-time temperature of, say, 63, to the ideal daytime temperature of 70 or so. As a result, when it comes time for that temperature change, they’ll call upon backup heating, often electrical, to negotiate the jump in temperature, which will be more expensive than running the heat pump.

Often, the backup heat is designed to cycle on and run continuously until the thermostat closes to within 1.5 degrees of the original temperature setting.

Special programmable thermostats designed for use with heat pumps use adaptive recovery to enable setbacks. These devices can cancel out the backup heat when using setbacks.

Further, adaptive units offer improved heating capabilities, because they can sense comfortable room temperatures much as humans do. Conventional thermostats can only read the air’s temperature, which does not provide an accurate assessment of a room’s actual temperature. An adaptive device can respond to program settings that read the temperature of the air and walls and calculate how long it will take for the space to return to the preset temperature. By doing so, the thermostat can manage how to adjust the temperature and will do so gradually to enhance comfort and energy savings. Keep in mind, however, that heat pumps will still consume more energy from extreme setbacks. An effective setback of just a few degrees can lead to energy savings with heat-pump systems.

Take your heat-pump thermostat to the next level and get optimal energy savings with proper use. For help with operational tips, or if you’d like to find out more about heat pumps, contact the experts at Wolff Mechanical today. Serving homeowners in the Phoenix Valley.

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