Electronic Thermostats

If you do not already have an electronic thermostat, this is the right time of year to consider installing one, especially just before the heating season begins in northern climates. There are so many advantages to having an electronic thermostat for both heating as well as cooling seasons, that it is hard to know were to begin.

Basic Features

The basic features of most electronic thermostats ( Note that these will vary depending on the model so it is important to read the specs before you make your purchase ) include control of both heating and cooling systems; ability to set the temperature in your home at least four times during the day; monitor the humidity level in your home and display on a small screen; monitor the current temperature and display the temperature on a small screen; ability to set your furnace fan to run only when the furnace heat is on or to run constantly at a slow speed. The same applies to cooling cycles in the summer time.

Advanced Features

Obviously the sky is the limit here as is the price, however features such as additional setting times during the day for the temperature; control the humidity level in your home; remote activation / control via the internet; set the degree drop or rise  before the furnace or air conditioning kicks in;  auto switch from cooling to heating;  control of your thermostat by your electrical utility. ( we will discuss this last feature more in a later section)

Convenience and Saving Energy

Today’s modern electronic thermostats are designed to provide convenience to consumers as well as enable them to also save energy and reduce their electrical and heating costs.  Not everyone is perhaps familiar with these advantages so we will spend a few paragraphs discussing this particular topic.

With a manual thermostat you must constantly adjust the temperature for your own comfort as well as remember to adjust it downwards during heating seasons when you are away. The same is true for cooling seasons except that you must increase the temperature. Most of us are forgetful and will only remember that we should have adjusted the thermostat after we have left. We do not receive the energy savings as a result and our energy costs are increasing every month.

With an electronic thermostat you can set the temperature based on your schedule for each day and then forget about it. If your schedule changes, just manually change the temperature for that period to a comfortable level. during the next period the electronic thermostat will revert to the regular schedule that you have set for it. This is perfect for people who go to work every day. Who needs to heat or cool the house when no one is home?

Not only will you save heating fuel such as natural gas, oil or electricity depending on what your home is heated with, you will also save on electricity since your furnace fan will not run as often as well. The same principles are true for the cooling season when you run your air conditioning systems. All energy sources have been increasing their rates  recently so this is becoming more and more important as consumers look to stretch their hard earned dollars a bit further. It is not unheard of for electrical rates to be increased by 10 or 20% in some areas, so reducing usage is becoming even more important.

Electrical Energy System Banding

In several Canadian provinces and in some US states as well, the electrical utilities have begun charging for electricity used based on the time of day it is consumed. The idea is that more electricity is consumed by industry and consumers during the day causing maximum peaks around 11 am and 2 pm. By charging higher rates during these time periods the utilities are hoping consumers and industry will move their consumption to evening hours when demand is usually way down and also when electrical rates are much lower.

With this billing system in place, consumers can actually save money if they cause their electrical systems to be turned off during these peak times. Reducing  your furnace and air conditioning use during the day as well as clothes dryers, dishwashers and other appliances that consume electricity will definitely reduce your electrical bill.

Electronic thermostats are perfect for this energy reduction initiative, since consumers can adjust their thermostats to take advantage of the lower electrical rates offered by the utilities during non peak hours.

Electrical Utilities Controlling Your Thermostat!

We said we would come back to this subject in this post. Can you imagine that this is even  possible? And why would you allow it?

Well it seems that some utilities are so worried about meeting peak demands for electrical energy, they are offering all kinds of programs to help them reduce electricity consumptions and control peak demand load. If they cannot meet the electrical demand on any given day, consumers may experience brown outs which are dimming of the lights all the way to electrical system failure. Brown outs are also bad for computer systems and many other devices that need to have a stable electrical system.

Anyway, some utilities are offering to provide you with a brand new electronic thermostat complete with all of the bells and whistles and one more feature that most do not have. These special thermostats give the utility the ability to adjust the temperature in your home to reduce the electrical consumption during peak demand times. Apparently you can manually adjust the temperature yourself to over ride the change they make, however for many people it can be an excellent way to upgrade to a new thermostat and save money at the same time.

These programs do not exist in all jurisdictions and it is optional were they exist. The major advantage is that you receive a new electronic thermostat and they will install it for you as well. A great way to contribute to energy savings, reduce your costs for heating and cooling while still having control over your systems.


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