Best HVAC Company in Sacramento

Best HVAC Company Sacramento

How to Find the Best HVAC Company in Sacramento

Finding a reliable HVAC company that you can trust is extremely important to the overall health of your home! Today on the blog, our team shares all of the qualities that you should be looking for upon hiring an HVAC company in Sacramento.

How to Find the Best HVAC Company in Sacramento

Finding the best HVAC Company is a great way to ensure that your system serves you well and for a long time. It is also a great way to guarantee proper AC tune-up and maintenance on your system without any additional damages. Currently, there are many HVAC companies in the Sacramento market. So, if you’re searching for HVAC Company Near Me, and you live in and around the Sacramento area, we have some pro tips for you! 

As a homeowner, you have to decide, sometimes within a short time, who to contract for any number of services on the unit. It helps to know what to look for when dealing with a potential HVAC technician. This way, you can make the right decision in time. 

Below are some of the best indicators of a great HVAC company. 

Best HVAC Company Sacramento

The Importance of HVAC Company reviews 

How well do people speak of your HVAC contractor? Positive Sacramento HVAC reviews from former customers are a good indicator of a competent, residential AC company. There are two ways to get the references and find out the kind of work your potential contractor delivers. 

One, you can ask them for their previous customer numbers the same way an employer asks for references from potential employees. Call the provided numbers and find out what kind of work they provided. Only hire them if their previous customers have nice things to say about them. 

Two, you can find references from your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. The chances are that they will recommend the best Sacramento HVAC companies from their personal experiences. 

Choosing A Professional Licensing and Experience HVAC Contractor

Professional licensing saves you from letting untrained hands work on your HVAC system. Given how expensive the system is, it is important to ensure that only the most qualified contractor handles it. This way, you can avoid costly mistakes. 

To distinguish between qualified contractors and phony ones, your local authorities provide HVAC companies with licenses. These are only provided to contractors and companies who have met all the required standards. Your HVAC Company should have the required licenses to practice in your area. 

Our friends and Sacramento Comercial Builders, Headwaters Building Inc., urges customers to find out whether your contractor is licensed to practice by visiting their website. Most licensed professionals are eager to display it on their websites.

Experience is yet another qualifier. While the number of years does not necessarily guarantee competence. It shows that the contractor is stable and consistent. 

Home Energy-efficient Offerings 

Now that you have chosen the Best HVAC Company in Sacramento, your home service contractor should be ready to provide you with the most efficient models in the market in order to help you save money all year long. 

Ask whether they can provide you with ENERGY STAR rated HVAC units you can afford. This means that the HVAC systems have been tested according to the government’s directive. If your contractor values energy efficiency, they will not have a problem showing you available options. 

Ready to start working with the Best HVAC Company in Sacramento?

Your HVAC system is an important appliance, as well as one of the most expensive appliances you have in your home. Therefore, there should be no doubt when giving an HVAC contractor permission to install, repair, or run maintenance on the system. 

At Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing, you can expect nothing but certified professional service on your HVAC unit. Contact us today and enjoy quality service every day of the year. 

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Common Pet Damage to HVAC Systems

Are your pets causing damage to your HVAC system? ​

Are your pets causing damage to your HVAC system? 

Sometimes, pet dander and buildup can cause some serious damage to your HVAC system. Today on the blog, our Sacramento HVAC Technicians share how your pets cause damage to your HVAC System and how to fix it!

Are your pets causing damage to your HVAC system? 

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that in 2017, 68% of all homes in the U.S. had pets. While the pets people keep may vary from one home to another, dogs and cats are by far the most common. Many Sacramento homeowners are surprised by the common pet damage to HVAC systems. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent further damage. If your household has a pet or two, read on and learn some of the adjustments that you need to make in order to stop the pet damage to your HVAC systems.

Are your pets causing damage to your HVAC system? ​

Changing the Air Filters Regularly

If you have furry pets, it is imperative that you change the filter regularly since pet fur and dander can quickly clog the filter. This happens when that fur and dander are sucked into the vents of the HVAC system, and they end up in the air filter and ductwork. Changing the filters as recommended will ensure that your HVAC system is running more effectively. Here’s how to install an air filter in a furnace

Changing your air filter frequently is an important step to maintaining your HVAC system. If the airflow is being blocked, your HVAC system will have to work even harder than usual. To ensure that everything is running properly, contact the best HVAC company in Sacramento for help. This expert will assess the conditions present in your home and recommend the most appropriate intervals at which you need to change the air filter.

When you follow that recommended schedule, the indoor air quality, and the performance of the air conditioning system will improve greatly. 

Protecting the Outdoor Unit

If you have a dog, the chances are high that it urinates on the outdoor AC unit as a way of marking its territory. Folsom AC service technicians explain that dog urine is very corrosive and will damage the AC unit. Your dog may also claw at the outdoor unit, and this can eventually cause serious damage to the unit in addition to putting your dog at risk of being electrocuted.

HVAC experts recommend building a fence or barrier around the outdoor AC unit so that your pets (especially dogs) cannot access it. If you aren’t sure about the barrier that will do a good job, talk to our professionals from Gilmore Heating and Air for advice.

Secure Electrical Cords

As a pet owner, you probably know how common it is for pets to chew on anything in sight, including cords and wires. This poses a grave risk to your pets and home. 

HVAC repair experts in Sacramento recommend that all wires and cords be enclosed in conduits so that those wires are safe from the action of pets. 

Clean and Groom Your Pets

Another helpful tip that can help your air conditioning system is becoming more vigilant about cleaning and grooming your pets. You’re probably wondering how this is beneficial to your home’s HVAC system?

When pets are groomed, preferably by a professional, there will be less loose fur and dander to be sucked into the HVAC system. Fox Valley plumber at Tureks Plumbing also adds that loose fur can also damage your plumbing system and clog your drains. Therefore, your ducts and filters will be much cleaner. For this reason, Sacramento HVAC experts encourage pet owners to clean and groom those furry family members. 

Vacuum the Home Regularly

In addition to cleaning and grooming your pets frequently, Gilmore Heating and Air also recommends vacuuming your home frequently. This will get rid of any fur before it is sucked into the ductwork and filter.

This proactive approach will ensure that pet fur doesn’t put an unnecessary strain on the air conditioning system.

While the suggestions above can go a long way towards maintaining your HVAC system, many HVAC professionals recommend getting an annual HVAC tune-up with your local HVAC company. An annual tune-up performed by the experts at Gilmore Heating and Air is the best way to ensure that any defect will be caught early and rectified. This will keep your HVAC system working for many more years to come. 

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Energy Efficiency and Your HVAC System

Energy Efficiency and Your Home's HVAC System

Energy Efficiency and Your HVAC System

Today on the blog, our Experienced HVAC Technicians share the connection between energy efficiency and your HVAC System. Read on to discover how to increase energy efficiency in your Sacramento home. 

The Connection Between Energy Efficiency and Your HVAC System

When shopping around for your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC), you’ll most likely focus on costs rather than energy efficiency. So, is price or energy efficiency more important? The short answer is both. At Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing⁣, our HVAC experts share vital information about the connection between energy efficiency and your HVAC system. In this article, you’ll discover why energy efficiency matters to you.

Energy Efficiency and Your Home's HVAC System

Understanding Energy Flow

The purpose of an HVAC system is not only to warm or cool your space but to ensure comfortability and improve air quality. This is accomplished by fresh air being pulled from the outside or within the home (ventilation), which is brought into the air handling unit and drawn through filters. These filters help to remove dust, allergens, and other particles to purify the air. Then the air is sent to either be cooled or heated before cycling back out into the home. For most systems, the air moves through a network of ducts to different rooms. However, the air can also be centralized to specific rooms/areas of the house, depending on the system. 

Because there are a handful of steps before the air is purified and matched to the homeowners’ comfort, there are a number of ways to be more energy efficient with your HVAC.

Choosing the Right HVAC System

Deciding which HVAC system is right for your home can be a big decision. We asked Tureks Plumbing, a Fox Valley home-remodeling company for tips. They said that there are many factors to consider when investing in something for your home. They agree that an energy-efficient HVAC system will not only last longer but also improve home value. Plus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. Ultimately, an energy-efficient HVAC system is the way to go if you want to increase comfort, lower bills, and reduce energy consumption. 

Here at Gilmore Air, we will always make sure to give you plenty of options for energy-efficient HVAC products. Our Placerville HVAC experts are highly skilled in working with homeowners to find the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re not just here for an HVAC installation – we’re here to help you through the entire HVAC replacement process from start to finish.

Committed to Quality Excellence 

At Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing⁣, our team is continuously learning more about the latest Heating and Air technologies to provide you with the best HVAC service possible. Each of our certified HVAC technicians is committed to giving you a comprehensive plan to meet your HVAC comfort and energy needs. Whether you are looking to reduce high monthly energy costs, salvage your current system to sell your home, or want the most comfortable atmosphere available, we do it all.

Certified Energy Performance

Since 1979, we have been providing customers with the best service around. You can always count on us to give you honest and professional advice. We will never recommend an HVAC system that doesn’t have a long track record of exceptional performance. With the Gilmore Guarantee, you won’t have to worry about your HVAC system failing you when you need it most. If you need help selecting or replacing your HVAC system, contact Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing⁣ today.

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Choosing the Right Sized Heat Pump for Your Home

Choosing the Right Sized Heat Pump for Your Home in Sacramento

Interested in a new heat pump for your Sacramento home? We’re here to help. Today on the blog, we cover how to determine the right size heat pump for your home. 

Choosing the Right Sized Heat Pump for Your Home in Sacramento

One of the challenges that many Sacramento homeowners face is replacing their heat pump. If you live in an older home, your Sacramento HVAC repair technician will likely tell you that it’s time to replace your current heat pump with a new one. Choosing the right sized heat pump for your home can seem difficult at first. At Gilmore Heating and Air, we like to make the decision-making process as easy and as painless as possible, so we have compiled the following guide to help you get a fairly good picture of the system size that will address your needs.

Choosing the Right Sized Heat Pump for Your Home Sacramento

Know Your Climatic Region

The first thing that you have to keep in mind when choosing the size of your heat pump is the region in which you live. This is because different regions or zones have different heating or cooling requirements. 

For example, Sacramento is in Zone 2, which isn’t as hot as the places found in Zone 1. Once you know your region (or zone in this case), you’ll have a better understanding of what size heat pump you’ll need for your Sacramento home.

Choose a System Type

The next decision that you have to make regards your preferred system type. Here, your choices are limited to either a system that can heat as well as cool your home or one that is only intended to cool the home. The HVAC professionals at Gilmore Heating and Air have seen an increasing number of homeowners opting for systems that can heat and cool the home as needed. Not sure? Discuss your heat pump replacement options with our Sacramento HVAC replacement technicians.

Determine the Size of Your Home

Folsom HVAC replacement experts explain that heat pumps come in different sizes so that the most appropriate one can be selected for a given property. If your house is 2,000 square feet, for example, then you may need a smaller sized heat pump compared to a home that is 4,000 square feet. Our friends at Tureks Plumbing, a Fox Valley plumbing company, agrees that the size of the home gives an idea about the total area for which you need a heat pump. So, the bigger the home, the larger the heat pump needed.

Determine the Heating Needed for Each Square Foot

As already mentioned, the different climatic zones have different heating requirements, and this plays a part in determining the right size heat pump for your home. For example, Sacramento lies within Zone 2, and each square foot of space in this zone requires 35-40 BTUs of heat.

To know the total amount of heat needed for your 2500 square foot home, multiply that square footage by the BTUs needed for each square foot. When you multiply 2500 by 40, you get 100,000 BTUs.

Your next task is to select a heat pump whose capacity can deliver the 100,000 BTUs. Gilmore HVAC professionals explain that heat pumps come with an energy efficiency rating. So, you will have to factor that in when selecting a unit.

For example, a unit with an output capacity of 100,000 BTUs and an energy efficiency rating of 80% will not give you the 100,000 BTUs you need to heat your home. This is because, at 80% efficiency, the unit can only give you a maximum of 80,000 BTUs.

However, if you select a unit with an output rating of 130,000 BTUs and an efficiency rating of 80%, the actual heat produced will be 104,000 BTUs, which is within the range you want.

Factors Affecting Insulation

As you may have noticed, the amount of heating needed for each square foot in any climate zone or region is given as a range, such as 35-40 BTUs for Zone 2. This range is provided to account for a number of variables, such as how well the home is insulated.

We asked Headwaters Construction Inc, a Sacramento commercial construction company, about insulation. They said that proper insulation is key to keeping the heat inside. If, for example, your home has large windows and isn’t properly insulated, the higher number will be the right one to use in your calculations. 

However, if you have a newer home with modern windows that provide a high degree of insulation, then the lower number in the range is the more appropriate one to use.

We recognize that despite our best efforts to explain how the right size of heat pump is determined, you may still be unable to select the right size heat pump for your Sacramento home. Rather than take a risk and end up with an oversized or undersized heat pump, we strongly recommend searching HVAC company near me. At Gilmore Heating and Air, our highly-trained and certified HVAC professionals can visit your home and assess your HVAC needs. Give us a call today!

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Preparing Your Thermostat for Heating Season

Your heating system’s thermostat doesn’t draw attention to itself. The small box connects to the wall and engages the heater when you adjust the dials. Yes, the concept is simple and doesn’t appear to require any effort on the homeowner’s part. Don’t think you don’t need to care for the thermostat at all, though. Prepping it for the heating season could help you avoid troubles.

Check and Change the Batteries

Many thermostats require standard batteries to operate. Once the batteries die out, you can’t send any commands to the furnace. Avoid getting caught by surprise on a cold night. Check the battery’s power levels before the temperature drops. Replace batteries that are dead or dying, and keep extra batteries in a drawer to be safe.

Consider an Upgrade

Is your current thermostat outdated? If so, then you might wish to consider purchasing a new one. Older thermostats reaching the end of their life expectancies might not be the best choice for someone worried about failures and mishaps. Think about speaking with a heating company’s rep to discuss whether you need a new one. Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing⁣ provides essential services for heater installations and related components.

Choose the Best Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to type in commands that set temperatures for desired days and times. Look carefully at the number of days you can program the unit. Some units allow you to set a separate program for every day of the week, and others may only allow one setting for the entire week. Look at your schedule, and make a choice that fits it.

Consider Connections to a Smart Home System

Smart home systems tie together many different electronic devices in the home. Locks, lights, cameras, and thermostats might be compatible with a smart home service. A smart system for the home brings forth many benefits, one of which is remote access. If you can change the settings on your temperature from a smartphone, then you can raise or lower the temperature as needed. This way, you don’t waste energy while at work, and you can make sure the temperature is agreeable when you arrive.

Prepping your thermostat may require a little help. Call Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing⁣ if you need our assistance in Placerville. We can also help you with your air conditioning and plumbing system.

3 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Folsom CA make home energy efficient

3 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Whether it’s summer or winter in Northern California, you want to save money when it comes to your HVAC costs. Being aware of a few things can help keep you warm or cool while bringing down your monthly bill. Here are three tips that we at Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ want to share with you.

1. Choose Energy Star Appliances

Replacing older equipment with more recent models can save dollars. For example, a new air conditioning unit can replace an older model and save as much as 20% to 40% on monthly utility bills. Although air conditioners are meant to last more than 10 years, newer models have better SEER ratings and are more efficient. You might consider replacing your AC if you have:

  • Unreliable system operation
  • High energy bills
  • Increasing repair costs
  • A failed unit

Whether it’s heating or air conditioning, there comes a time when getting repairs is too costly. New equipment will be more efficient. However, you should remember to size the unit correctly for ultimate efficiency. Meanwhile, regular servicing of older models will make them run more efficiently.

Folsom CA make home energy efficient

2. Seal the Outside of Your Home

Part of your home includes the outside outer walls, windows, ceiling, and floor. This area is called the “envelope” or “shell” explains Saint Paul HVAC experts at McQuillan Bros. Have a skilled contractor seal and insulate the exterior to make your home more energy efficient. This could save more than $200 a year in your cooling and heating costs.

3. When Temperatures Are Mild, Use Windows and Fans

Aside from using a programmable thermostat when you are away, you can take steps to keep the air moving naturally. Open windows in spring and use ceiling fans or portable fans on warmer days. You can also consider cooking outside on hot days, using a grill to avoid heating up the interior of your kitchen.

At Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ in Placerville, CA, we specialize in heating and cooling services. Give us a call if you need service or have questions.

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HVAC v. AC Folsom CA

Are You Using the Terms HVAC and AC Correctly?

You have probably heard the acronym HVAC many times in your life. It’s likely that you have used it yourself, but do you know what it means? Some people confuse HVAC and AC. Let’s discuss what the differences are.

What Does HVAC Stand For?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. When someone says they are an HVAC technician, this means they are skilled in all of these areas, not just one. HVAC techs from Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing in Placerville, CA can fix your furnace, clean out your vents and install an air conditioner.

HVAC v. AC Folsom CA  


What Does AC Stand For?

AC stands for air conditioning. When technicians say they are repairing your AC, they are not going to clean out your vents or change the filter on your furnace. They are simply going to fix your air conditioning unit, whether that is a window unit or a central air system explains the specialists at St Paul Air Conditioning Repair company, McQuillan Bros.

Are the Terms Interchangeable?

If you are talking about AC, you are referring to your air conditioning system only. If you use the term HVAC, you could be talking about any part of your heating, ventilation or air conditioning system. When you are talking to AC maintenance Sacramento technicians about your problem, it is important that you use the correct terminology so that they know what type of problem they are looking for.

What About Heat Pumps?

A heat pump can occasionally cause some confusion because it both heats and cools. In this instance, it seems like you could use either the term HVAC or the term AC depending on the type of unit you are referring to. However, most HVAC technicians consider the term AC to mean systems that are made only for air conditioning rather than both heating and cooling.

We have skilled technicians ready to answer your questions and field techs who can visit your home or business to determine what is causing the problem. If you are experiencing difficulty with any part of your HVAC system, give Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing a call today.

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Modesto Apartment Fire Shows Risks of Window Air Conditioners

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog post discussing the danger posed by window-mounted air conditioners. In that article, we noted that one of the key causes of air conditioner fires is using extension cords to power window units. This is because extension cords are too high of a gauge—they are too thin—to handle the current necessary to power a window AC. When used to power an air conditioner, these cords will overheat, and can cause a fire.


Unfortunately, an apartment fire in Modesto last month illustrated the exact scenario described above. At nearly 5 am on July 28th, a fire was reported at an apartment complex that happened to be across the street from the Modesto Fire Department. Thanks to the Fire Department’s proximity, they were able to respond within minutes of the fire starting, and nobody was injured.

However, two units were seriously damaged, displacing nearly 20 people. The fire caused approximately $100,000 in damage, and there are concerns that the fire damaged wiring and plumbing serving other units in the complex, necessitating the shutdown of electricity, gas, and water.

Investigators at the scene determined that the residents of the unit where the fire started were using a window-mounted air conditioner powered by cord insufficient to meet the unit’s power demands.

Central air conditioners can help save lives and homes.

We understand that for many, window-mounted air conditioners are an attractive option. They are inexpensive, and easy to install in older homes and apartment complexes. However, the safety of a window unit is entirely dependent upon the owner’s or tenant’s ability and willingness to operate it in a safe manner.

While no air conditioning solution can be considered to be 100% safe, central air conditioning systems offer a significant safety advantage when a trained expert handles the wiring and installation of the system.

If you are a homeowner or apartment complex owner considering options for keeping your property cool during Central California’s hot summer season, Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing can help. Give us a call at 888-868-2316, or send us a message through our website’s contact form.

Our representatives will be happy to talk to you about your options, and help you identify the most efficient, cost effective, and safe way to keep your property cool and comfortable.

Using Your Thermostat to Stay Comfortable and Save Money

What is a thermostat and how does it work?

You might have one of those old school thermostats with the slide switch, or a newer digital display one, or even a smart thermostat that you can control with your phone. But in the end, thermostats are just the box that lets you turn the temperature up and down, right?

Well, there’s a bit more to thermostats than that. A thermostat is a temperature sensitive electronic switch that controls your air conditioner, furnace, or both. Early analog, electromechanical thermostats—the kind your parents or grandparents used—had a small bimetallic coil that expanded or contracted as the air around changed temperature. The temperature selector switch adjusted the position of the thermostat coil so that when the temperature dropped below (in cold weather) or rose above (in hot weather) the target temperature, the coil would tip a small bulb of mercury in one direction or the other, making the mercury shift and complete a circuit, starting the AC or furnace. (For a more in-depth examination, check out this tear down of an old Trane thermostat.)

While these thermostats worked well, they weren’t terribly energy efficient, and the mercury they used became a health concern. This wasn’t a big loss, as today’s computerized thermostats are much more accurate and efficient, and give you advanced settings that can help you cut your energy bill.

Common Types of Thermostats

There are many types of thermostats in use today:

Electromechanical: These are the old style analog thermostats described above. Older ones relied on mercury switches, though later models did away with this toxic metal. These are still commonly used, but they lack the cost-saving programmable features enjoyed by many homeowners. These are best suited for people with regular schedules, and are compatible with most heating and cooling systems, except for heat pumps.

Digital: Most thermostats used today are digital. These can be very bare bones, with just a black LCD and push buttons, or may include extra bells and whistles like backlighting, touchscreens, iPad-like color displays, and phone app integration. However, even very basic models are programmable, allowing you to schedule temperature “setbacks”—when the furnace or air conditioner is set back to more moderate temperature, reducing energy usage.

Hybrid: These are fancier touchscreen models that also feature manual slides and push buttons. Hybrid thermostats are a great choice when you are comfortable with technology, but some members of your family aren’t very tech savvy.

Occupancy:  Occupancy controlled thermostats have the same sensors used to control lighting in business offices. When an occupancy thermostat senses that people are present, it shifts into occupancy mode and adjusts the temperature accordingly. When it doesn’t sense anyone present for a preset period of time—anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours—then it shifts into unoccupied mode. This allows you to have the cost-saving benefit of a programmable thermostat, without actually having to set a schedule and overriding those settings when you break your patterns. However, these units are rather inflexible, and are best suited for spaces that are unoccupied for long periods of time, such as offices and retail stores.

Light Sensing: These utilize the same logic as occupancy thermostats, but instead use a light sensor to determine whether you are home or not. When the amount of light exceeds the preset level, the system turns on the air conditioner or furnace. When lighting falls below this threshold, the thermostat shifts into unoccupied mode. As with occupancy thermostats, these are best suited for areas left unoccupied for much of the day.

The most basic digital thermostats start at around $20, and can run up to around $250 for app-controlled thermostats, such as the popular Nest line of products. Thermostats with occupancy or light sensors cost around $350.

Using a Programmable Thermostat with Automatic Temperature Adjustment

Installing a programmable digital thermostat is a great way to maximize your energy savings without sacrificing comfort. By maintaining your desired temperature for four or five hours a day instead of 24 hours—as was typical with analog thermostats—a programmable thermostat will cut your energy costs tremendously, and more than pay for itself in a very short while.

Most programmable thermostats have one or more of the following features:

  • Store and repeat multiple daily and weekly setback schedules, which you can manually override temporarily without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.
  • Store six or more temperature settings per day.
  • Adjust heating and air conditioning turn-on times automatically as the outside temperature changes.

Choosing a Thermostat That’s Right for You

It’s a good idea to do a little homework before you choose a programmable thermostat. When considering which thermostat to buy, be sure to consider these questions:

  • Does the thermostat draw power from the heating system’s low-voltage electrical control circuit instead of a battery? While not having to replace the battery can seem convenient, the clock in some thermostats can be disrupted by power outages and when the furnace cycles on and off. A thermostat with a battery backup is preferred by many homeowners.
  • Is the thermostat compatible with your current electrical wiring?
  • How accurate is the thermostat?
  • Are the programming instructions easy to understand and remember? Some thermostats conveniently feature brief instructions inside the cover plate or housing box. If this isn’t the case, is it complicated enough that you’ll have to consult the instruction booklet every time you want to adjust the thermostat’s settings?

Most programmable thermostats completely replace old units, and are preferred by many homeowners. However, some models are designed to be placed over or alongside existing thermostats, and are mechanically controlled to permit automatic setbacks. These units are usually battery powered, eliminating the need for electrical wiring. They are often easy to program, and because they run on batteries, their clocks do not reset during power outages.

Before you make a choice, take some time to chart your weekly habits: when you wake up and leave for work or school, when you get home, and when you go to bed. Then determine what temperatures are most comfortable during these time periods. This will help you decide which thermostat will best serve your needs.

Where to Place Your Thermostat

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to prevent erroneous “ghost readings” and unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. Place your thermostat away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. Lastly, make sure that your thermostat is conveniently located for reprogramming and overriding automatic settings.

Busting Myths About Thermostat Usage

Many people believe that if you turn the heat down when you’re gone and then turn it back up when you get home, that your furnace will have to work harder to get your house back up to a comfortable temperature, resulting in little savings or even a net loss. This isn’t true. Studies have shown that the amount of energy needed to bring a home back up to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the energy saved while the temperature dropped after the furnace was turned off. That means that you save money for the entire period during which your home stabilizes at a lower temperature. The longer your home remains at a lower temperature, the more energy (and money) you’ll save.

An even more popular myth is that if you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, your furnace will put out more heat and warm up faster. Again, this isn’t true. A thermostat isn’t like the gas pedal in your car. It’s more like a light switch—on or off. Turning the temperature higher just raises the target temperature and makes your furnace run longer, not faster.

Setting Your Thermostat for Maximum Energy Savings in Winter

Yes, we know how awesome it is when it’s cold outside and you step through your front door and feel that blast of warm air. But keeping your home warmer than necessary costs a lot of money in the long run; the warmer it is inside your home, the faster it loses heat through the walls, as the rate of heat loss is determined by the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. A bigger difference means faster heat loss.

You can cut this heat loss by setting your thermostat just a bit lower, which can save you a lot of money. If you consistently set your thermostat 1 degree lower than you normally do for an 8 hour period, you can shave 1% off of your yearly heating bill. That means turning it down by 10 degrees can save you 10 PERCENT. That’s pretty significant.

An easy way to take advantage of these savings is by using your thermostat’s schedule function to automatically drop the temperature by a few degrees when you’re sleeping or at work. When you’re home, an ideal temperature is 68 degrees—enough to keep you warm without using too much energy.

A Note for Heat Pump Owners: When a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back a conventional heat pump thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a consistent moderate temperature is the most cost-effective practice. However, some companies have begun selling specially designed heat pump thermostats which make setting back the thermostat cost effective. Please note, when a heat pump is in cooling mode during the summer, it operates like an air conditioner. Therefore, manually turning up the thermostat will save you money.

Setting Your Thermostat for Maximum Energy Savings in Summer

Summer is the same as winter when it comes to heat transfer, but in reverse: the cooler you keep your home, the faster the inside of your home absorbs heat from outside. Yes, it feels amazing to keep your home so cold that you can see your breath, but you won’t like your power bill. During the summer, try and keep your thermostat set at about 78 degrees. When you’re away from home, set it higher.