This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: The Programmable Thermostat

Is this how you look when you're at home and trying to save money on your energy bills?  I spent all last winter when we lived in an-over-200-year-old-and-who-even-knew-windows-could-last-that-long? rental all bundled up.  The sophisticated heating system was either all on or all off and I definitely couldn't afford to heat that whole house all day, so I chose to freeze until my daughter came home from school when I would grudgingly turn on the heat.

This house is equipped with 5 heating zones (heat only, no air conditioning).  This is the first time I have ever had zones and I am a fan.  We have oil heat so I get "instant" feedback as to my consumption by the size of the bill left in my front door after the oil truck has left.  Did I forget and leave the heat on in the basement for  2 weeks?  Well, that accounts for the those extra 20 gallons @$2.69/gallon.

Keeping track of all these zones would be a royal pain if it weren't for the programmable thermostat.  Available at any major hardware store (we bought ours from Lowe's) they can range in price from a simple model to the cadillac-of-thermostats-that-will-practically-keep-track-of-your-periods-too models which can get pretty pricey.  We spent about $50 for each thermostat.  I used to run around the house trying to remember to turn up and down the heat.  Inevitably I would forget a zone and would either pay to heat an unoccupied space or freeze while putting on my pajamas because I forgot to turn on the heat.  Here's how we do it now:  On Monday-Friday I don't heat the upstairs from the hours of 8:30a.m.-5:30p.m.  Nobody is up there during those hours with the possible exception of me doing laundry and running up and down stairs hauling baskets full of clothing is enough cardio to keep me warm.

The basement is only heated to 50 degrees.  The temperature is turned up "upon request."  Our main floor is heated to 68 degrees from 7a.m. to 10p.m. and then it automatically drops to 60.

When we have school breaks or sick days or snow days I can override the programs and keep everyone toasty - but I am always amazed at the difference I see in our oil bill.  Just a few sick days can mean 10 extra gallons of oil.  Winter break consumed almost 40 extra gallons!  That there's a lot of reliance upon petroleum.

I've even heard-tell (my southern vernacular is legit, I was born in Texas) of some utility companies that give discounts or credits to customers who have programmable thermostats.

How do you reduce your heating bills?


karen@fitnessjourney said...

What a great idea. We have high ceilings and has a very open floor plan. I wonder if we would benefit from a programmable thermostat.

My method of conserving is to turn the heat a little lower at night and use lots of blankets!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I don't conserve. I can't stand to be cold. I do turn it down during the day, when I'm at work, but at night and on weekends, I crank that shit up. The dog pants.

You forgot to e-mail me your address so I can send Katy a birthday gift. Get with it, toots!