Author Topic: Thermostat controls  (Read 3890 times)

Hedge_87

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Thermostat controls
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:11:15 AM »
With propane doubling in price this month I've decided to reevaluate how I control the thermostat in my home. Yesterday the high for the day was in the 60s. With south facing windows I was able to get the house up to a balmy 67 degrees with my shades open. Around 8 o clock pm a cold front moved through and by 11 it was down to 29. I forgot to turn the heater back on and woke to a house tempurature of 52. I don't mind it getting down in the low fifties at night I actually sleep really well when it's cold. My only problem is getting out from under the covers in the morning. My question is how low can I let the temperature drop at night and set it to come back up to a more reasonable morning of temp (60) before I'm not doing any good. I know I need better insulation in the attic and am changing out the old single pain windows with new double pains as funds and time allows. Just was kind of wondering what everyone else did. I would like to get to a point where I only run it for an hour or so in the morning and use passive solar heat to help maintain it during the day

Greg

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 09:45:51 AM »
There are programmable thermostats that can do this for you.  The one I have is a relatively cheap Honeywell model that runs about $35.  It has 4 time periods per day, and weekday/weekend settings as well.  This is what I would recommend.

With this kind of thermostat you could have it be cool until an hour before you wake, then heat up for that period, turn off for when you're gone, and turn back on before you get home, or some similar arrangement.  You set minimum temps for the "away" times and so it never gets super cold unless you want it to.  And it of course would not heat if the house was warmed up during the day.  It also can be set to "anticipate" the temp. depending on your type of heat, so that if you have radiators for instance it turns on sooner.

This looks like the one I use:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Honeywell-5-1-1-Day-Programmable-Thermostat-with-Backlight-RTH2410B/202024250?N=5yc1vZc4kc

horsepoor

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 09:50:35 AM »
Make sure your furnace is compatible with a programmable thermostat.  It sounds like you're in an older house, and if the furnace is original, it may not work with a programmable, or you may need to get the most basic one.  You can short out a part (forget what it is) on the furnace by trying to install something non-compatible (ask me how I know).

If you've still got single pane windows, it may be worthwhile to put plastic over them during the winter (or year round for any you don't normally open).  Cellular shades and drapes can also go a long ways towards holding heat in. 

I'm kind of on the fence about programming the thermostat to drop at night.  Lately we've just been leaving at at 60, then if we burn wood in the evening, it might get up to 65 in the house, so at least the heater doesn't kick on until 2 am or so.

fodder69

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 09:51:30 AM »
It's always better.more efficient to let it get as cold as possible (or as low as you can stand) and then heat the house back up in the morning.

Hedge_87

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 10:32:39 AM »
How would I be able to tell if it will hurt my furnace or not? Would I just have to get a model #. The current thermostat is digital but not programble if that helps any. I think I could set the lower limit around 50 for night during the night and day time. My biggest problem is my wife is not very happy in the morning when it is 50 degrees and she gets out of the shower lol. My goal for this year is to make the house as efficient as possible. I have three more windows to change out (one is a huge picture window) and then need to put some new shades up.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 11:04:20 AM »
How would I be able to tell if it will hurt my furnace or not? Would I just have to get a model #. The current thermostat is digital but not programmable if that helps any. I think I could set the lower limit around 50 for night during the night and day time. My biggest problem is my wife is not very happy in the morning when it is 50 degrees and she gets out of the shower lol. My goal for this year is to make the house as efficient as possible. I have three more windows to change out (one is a huge picture window) and then need to put some new shades up.
Don't know if this would help your wife (and I am with her on the cold room after the shower) but...
electricity is really expensive here, so I am very careful.  The one place I have incandescent bulbs (winter only) is the bathroom.  With the door closed and the lights on, the room is definitely warmer when I get out of the shower, even with the warm air lost with the exhaust fan running.  In general, it is more effective to spot heat, so if you can't do this, maybe a small heater?

For windows, I find bubble wrap against the glass does help some for heat loss.  It does nothing for heat lost from air movement at the frame, so that is always a good place to put some effort in the fall (or spring if you have AC and want that cool air to stay inside in the summer).

I also have a programmable thermostat and it can be set manually as well, so when I am going out for any length of time I pop the temperature way down and only turn it back up when I am home.  With how cold it is now, even a cold house seems warm for the first half hour, while the heat comes back up  ;-)

For background, right now the house is set at 20C (68F) so I am being a bit wussy, but I am doing a lot of things that I need functional fingers for at the moment.  Outside it is -9C (16F), wind chill makes it feel like -19C(-2F)  because we are having gusts up to 55km/h (34miles/hour), so although it looks pretty out, I am staying inside  ;-)

Hedge_87

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 11:19:52 AM »
I have considered a small electric heater in the bathroom set on a timer to adjust to turn on and heat the space for roughly an hour or so while she gets ready in the mornings. Anybody have any luck with this set up. I think it would be more easier to heat 70 sqft bathroom to 70 degrees than 1500 sgft house to 60. The. I could just have a few hours of heating the house in the evenings. Which would be easier due to a higher outside air temperature. We are only in the house for maybe an hour and a half in the morning anyways.

HayMaker

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 11:20:40 AM »
From energy.gov

"A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer -- a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning. "

I'd say get the programmable thermostat and give it a try.  Doesn't sound like you'll do any harm to your heating unit.  Of course all that is different if you have a heat pump, but based on what the OP described I don't think that's the case here.

Hedge_87

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 11:25:34 AM »
No heat pump here. We have one of those units that sit outside and blows the hot or cold air in. This thing has to be losing a ton of efficiency to the outside air temp. The only advantage is you can't hear it from inside the house.

horsepoor

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 11:30:17 AM »
How would I be able to tell if it will hurt my furnace or not? Would I just have to get a model #. The current thermostat is digital but not programble if that helps any. I think I could set the lower limit around 50 for night during the night and day time. My biggest problem is my wife is not very happy in the morning when it is 50 degrees and she gets out of the shower lol. My goal for this year is to make the house as efficient as possible. I have three more windows to change out (one is a huge picture window) and then need to put some new shades up.

I'm not really sure, because when we learned what an inefficient old POS our furnace was after I shorted out the part, we ended up having it replaced.  Maybe you can look up the serial number on it and figure out how old it is and contact the manufacturer about what kind of thermostats work with it.  I think the one we had was from 1973 when the house was built.

Hedge_87

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Re: Thermostat controls
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 12:02:14 PM »
The original house was built in 65 and the addition was added in 85. I don't think it is from the 60s since it sets outside and I think it would look a lot worse if it was installed 60 years ago. It is new enough that it doesn't have a pilot light not sure when they started doing away with pilot lights though.