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​How to Save Energy and Money with a ‘Smart’ Thermostat

During transitional seasons, your thermostat runs a number of “sprints,” per se, in order to heat or cool your home on particularly hot or cold days. However, when winter comes around, your thermostat jumps into “marathon” mode, running on a daily basis to keep its inhabitants comfortable.

Although it’s comforting to keep your home at a steady 70 degrees day after day (who wants to wear a blanket around the house to keep warm?), it’s not economically practical. Instead, you should program your thermostat to raise or lower the temperature of your home when you’re sleeping or away.

Program in the savings

By programming your thermostat, you could save about $173 a year, according to  Nest’s website.

Taking programmable thermostats to the next level, third-party manufacturers like Nest have developed “smart” thermostats that can learn your schedule so that they can heat or cool your home in the most energy-efficient way. For instance, if you leave the house at 7 a.m. every weekday and get home at 5 p.m., the Nest will learn to lower the heat or AC while you’re away. By using Nest’s “auto-schedule” feature, you can save about 20 percent on your heating and cooling bill , Nest reports.

However, for homeowners whose schedules change from day to day, Nest’s “auto-schedule” feature might not be the most practical option. Instead, they can manually turn the heat down when they leave, or control their thermostats from their mobile devices while they’re away in order to save. Turning your thermostat down just 1 degree can save up to 5 percent on your energy usage , according to Nest.

Although many people might associate “smart” controls like the Nest with forced-air heating and cooling, they can also be used in conjunction with in-floor radiant heating. WarmlyYours offers  Integration Kits so that you can easily pair your heated floors with third-party controls, including the Nest thermostat.

By integrating with the Nest, WarmlyYours customers can reap all of the control’s benefits and gain full control over the way they heat their homes.

Energy efficiency in action

To see the integration in action, WarmlyYours observed a single-family home in Kildeer, Ill., heated entirely with in-floor radiant heat. Every room in the home features a Nest thermostat that controls the heated floor.

Between Feb. 11 and March 10, 2013, the average outside temperature was 28.8 degrees. During that time period, the Kildeer home’s 505-square-foot basement consumed almost 5 hours worth of electric radiant heating per day in order to reach 70 degrees. This equates to about $3 a day. Between March 11 and April 7, 2013, the average temperature rose to 34.8 degrees, and the radiant heat ran for nearly an hour less to heat the basement to 70 degrees. This equates to about $0.50 less a day in electricity costs.

Similarly, radiant heating in the 240-square-foot living room ran for nearly 7 hours between Feb. 11 and March 10, 2013, which equates to $1.64 a day. When the average temperature rose to 34.8 degrees, it only ran for 3.25 hours to reach 70 degrees. This equates to less than $1 a day.

In these instances, the home was able to save energy and money mostly because the temperature outside rose. However, heating each room in the home with radiant heat offers an additional advantage.

By using radiant heat as the primary heat source with a thermostat in each room, homeowners can simply boost the heat in the rooms in which they are spending the most time instead of having to turn up the heat throughout the entire house. In other words, if the upstairs is only used at night, the homeowner can keep the thermostat setting low throughout the day and boost it to a comfortable temperature about an hour before the family typically goes to bed.

By comparison, with gas heat, if you want to heat one room, you have to heat the entire home unless you go from room to room closing vents as needed. And who wants to do that?

To determine if your home is a good candidate for using radiant heat as a primary heating source, check out the  WarmlyYours Heat Loss Calculator. Even if you’re only using in-floor heating for supplemental heat, integrating with  third-party controls can help you save significant energy and money throughout the entire “marathon” of winter.



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