How Does a Programmable Thermostat Earn the Energy Star Label?

July 3, 2013
Ross and Witmer

The Energy Star label exists to help consumers compare the energy efficiency of products, including HVAC products. The bright blue label with the white star is placed only on items that meet or exceed tough EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) efficiency standards. Paying more up front for Energy Star-qualified products can be smart because you’ll generally save more long term with lower operating costs.

Selecting a programmable thermostat

By choosing to control your air conditioner and furnace with a programmable thermostat, you’ll save energy and money over a manually controlled system. Programmable units, when properly set for energy savings, optimize the use of your Charlotte area home comfort system. Programmables allow you to come home from work, for example, to the exact temperature you prefer; the system will be programmed to use less heating or A/C when you’re normally out of the house or sleeping. You save money without sacrificing comfort.

In order to qualify for the coveted federal Energy Star label, programmable thermostats must have:

  • At least two program periods (enabling separate settings for weekday and weekend).
  • Four or more pre-programmable day part settings (for example: waking, day, evening and sleep).
  • Day and sleep periods of eight hours minimum.
  • Reliability, to keep rooms within two degrees of pre-set temperature.
  • Installed cycle settings retained in memory, during power outages and battery failures.
  • Recovery systems: conventional and pre-comfort systems or heat pump recovery systems (for heat pump programmable thermostats).
  • Hold features that preserve the overridden, pre-set program.
  • Options for long term holds (vacation) and shorter holds (to next setpoint). (Recommended.)
  • Ship with these energy-efficient setpoint temperatures (which you can adjust):
    • Waking: 70 degrees (winter heating season) and 78 degrees (summer cooling season)
    • Daytime: set back (to lower temp) 8 degrees or more (winter); set up (to higher temp) 7 degrees or more (summer)
    • Evening: 70 degrees (winter); 78 degrees (summer)
    • Sleep: set back by 8 degrees or more (winter); set up by 4 degrees or more (summer)
  • Easy-to-understand resetting processes for consumers.

For expert advice about programmable thermostats or other HVAC services, please contact us at Ross & Witmer. Visit our website anytime for valuable home comfort advice and energy-efficiency tips.

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