Happy to save money with programmable thermostat

The Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

The internet is making all sorts of exciting futuristic devices into a reality. While a smart home that would respond to your voice or remote commands was once a thing of science fiction, it is now a reality. You probably already have a programmable thermostat at home, but have you considered upgrading it to one that is capable of connecting to the wireless network in your home? It can offer several advantages over your programmable thermostat. Here are a few of them.

Remote Programming

If you have a programmable thermostat, you already know how much you can benefit by taking advantage of the ability to have the temperature change without you interacting with your HVAC system. Unfortunately, you still have to be at home in order to make changes to the settings. Not so with a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat.

Wi-Fi thermostats come with an interface that can be accessed from anywhere. This means instead of having to change your temperature settings at home, you can change them anywhere. This means you can change the temp if you happen to leave work early or program a delay if you are staying late. Wi-Fi access provides you with true flexibility in how you control the temperature in your home.

Remote Monitoring

Do you want to know when something goes wrong at your house? What if your thermostat was smart enough to tell you that something unexpected had happened to the system that might need your attention? A Wi-Fi enabled or smart thermostat can do just that.

You can program your thermostat to send you alerts when the temperature creeps up too high (or falls too low) as well as send you alerts if something unexpected happens to shut the system down entirely. It provides you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what is going on at your home at all times.

Most Wi-Fi enabled thermostats have a range of parameters that you can set to send you alerts. You can customize these to your very own preferences.

Learning Your Behavior

Some smart thermostats are able to learn from the behavior that you and your family have when it comes to controlling the temperature in your home. If the kids tend to open the door often during the afternoon when they are coming in and out as they play, the thermostat will learn and understand that the AC needs to run a little more during those times.

If you like your house to be a little warmer in the evenings as you go to bed, it can learn that behavior as well and adjust accordingly. These settings can, of course, be changed to better tune the device to your desires, but the longer you allow it to learn, the closer it will come to predicting what you want.

Let Executive AC Upgrade Your Las Vegas HVAC System

Looking for advice on the right smart or Wi-Fi enabled thermostat? Contact Executive Air Conditioning today, and we can help!

themostat fan switch

Is One Thermostat Enough for Your Home?

Do you find yourself frequently walking past the thermostat in your house and wondering (sometimes out loud) who turned the temperature down (or up, if you are frequently cold)? Do you and the people that you live with frequently get into arguments over it being too hot or too cold? Well maybe it is time to consider an alternative to the one thermostat solution: the zone control system.

What about a Zone Control System?

The way most homes have their heating and cooling set up is that a centrally located thermostat is set to the desired temperature. As long as the temperature at the thermostat is what it is set to, the air conditioner is shut off. This means that often rooms on the second floor are warmer than you would like, and the basement is often cooler than you would like. A zone control system can change that.

How does Zone Control Work?

There are three main components to a zone control system: the central control panel, thermostats and dampers. Once installed, you can control the temperature in certain rooms (or zones) of your home so that you do not have a one size fits all solution.

Dampers are small devices that are inserted directly into the ductwork of your home. Usually one for each room or zone that you choose to have. Dampers work in conjunction with the thermostats that are attached to them. As they demand for heating or cooling changes on the thermostat in the zone, the dampers will open or shut accordingly to respond to the requests of the person or people in that zone.

The end result is a home that is able to have several different temperatures in different zones around the house.

The Benefits of a Zone Control System

There are several benefits that you can see from having a zone control system. The first and most obvious one is that you can stop arguing over it being too cold or too hot. The temperature in each zone can be set to match the comfort level of the person in that zone.

You can also see several energy savings benefits from this system as well. A zone control system helps you to direct your heating or cooling to where it is needed and when it is needed. You are no longer keeping your basement at a frosty 60 degrees just to make sure that the upstairs bedrooms are a comfortable 72 degrees. The cooling is directed to where it is needed instead of being wasted in spaces that are already at the desired temperature.

If you are considering having a zone control system installed in your home, then you need the help of a professional. Contact Executive Air Conditioning for assistance in purchasing and installing a zone control system into your home. We can help to make sure that your home is as comfortable as it can be!

Saving money by adjusting ac thermostat

Are You Using Your Thermostat Right?

Thermostats seem like a pretty straightforward piece of hardware. You just program the temperature and it does all the work. Except that modern thermostats are not the same as the old dials that used to be in your home. If you own a digital thermostat and are using it like the old style, you may not be using it correctly.

First Things First: Upgrade Your Old Thermostat

If you have an older HVAC system, you may still have one of those dial thermostats in your home. If that is the case, go out and upgrade your thermostat. For a relatively modest investment you can gain much finer control out of your HVAC system. You will get the cost back in energy bill savings in the first year.

If you aren’t comfortable installing the new thermostat yourself, the executives at Executive Air Conditioning can help.

Give Your System a Break

Do you find that your AC unit or heater is running 24/7? That really is not a great way to run your HVAC system. A programmable thermostat allows you to give your system a break now and again.

Programmable thermostats allow you to turn the system off or keep it at elevated temperatures when people aren’t home. If nobody is there, there is no reason to keep the house cool. Use the programmable features to cool or heat your home when you are there and turn the system off (or keep it at a much reduced demand) when you are not home. Your HVAC system and pocketbook will thank you.

One Temperature to Rule Them All

Do you just set your system to one temperature then walk away from it never to look at it again? That is truly not an efficient way to run your HVAC system. Variation in the workload will help to prolong the life of your HVAC unit. IT will also help you to better control your energy bills.

In the winters, set the temperatures cooler at night so the furnace doesn’t have to work as hard. In the summers, adjust the temperature throughout the day to match what is going on outside. You may find that at night you are better off opening up the windows and letting the cool night air inside. This is a great way to save on energy bills.

The Yo-Yo Thermostat

Do you adjust the temperature every time you walk past your thermostat? Constantly bumping the temperature up and down can also put undue stress on your HVAC unit. Keeping the temperature set to a standard setting for a few hours lets your HVAC unit work at regular intervals to keep your home comfortable. Try to avoid pushing buttons every time you walk past the thermostat, as much fun as it might be!

Regular maintenance and visits from your HVAC professional can keep your thermostat and HVAC unit in top shape. If you need assistance or would like to speak to a professional, contact Executive Air Conditioning today!

themostat fan switch

The Fan Switch: Is On or Auto Better?

Thermostat Fan Switch: On or Auto – Which is Better?

Depending on the type of thermostat you have in your home, there may be varying amounts of buttons or features displayed on it.

The Heat/Cool button is pretty self-explanatory, but what about the one that often resides next to it? The Fan button has an Auto setting and an On setting. What is the difference? Is one setting better than the other?

The answers depends on how you want to use it. There are several advantages and disadvantages to each setting.

What is the Difference?

The first question is what is the difference between the two settings? The Auto setting is used when you want the fan of the furnace or air conditioner to only run when the thermostat tells it to turn on. Typically this means when the temperature in the house gets too cool or too warm and your furnace or air conditioning needs to do something.

In contrast, the On setting means that the fan is constantly running and circulating air through the house. No, this does not mean the AC or heat is always on. The furnace will still only kick on the heat or the cooling when it is needed. This means the air distribution motor and fan are always running to move air around your house.

The On Setting

There are many things that you can gain by allowing your fan to continually circulate air through your house. You can improve the air quality in your house as moving air is continually pulled into the furnace and run through its filtering system. This means any particulates that might be in the air, like pollen or dust, will be pulled out all the time, instead of only when your furnace or air conditioner is in operation.

Another advantage is that the life of the motor can be extended. By running the motor constantly, it takes away the frequent starts and stops that occur during normal operation.

There are some drawbacks to leaving the fan on constantly. With an increase in filtering needs, this means the filters that clean the air will fill up much quicker. If these go without being changed, it can clog up your furnace.

A running fan will increase your energy costs. Having a motor running constantly takes electricity- this cost will be reflected in your bill.

The Auto Setting

Both of the drawbacks for leaving your fan on all the time become the advantages for the auto setting. Some might even say they are the reason behind leaving your fan on auto. Your filter will need much less maintenance, and your energy costs will be lower.

An additional advantage may be found in that constantly circulating air may feel cooler in the winter months when the heat is on. Sure the temperature is the same, but blowing air cools, even if the air is room temperature. The disadvantages all fall on the side of wear and tear on the motor. Constant starts and stops can lead to more wear on your fan motor.

Whether you choose to leave your fan on all the time or not, you should have your HVAC system professionally maintained on a regular basis. Contact Executive Air Conditioning today for routine maintenance or furnace repairs.

It is Time to Replace that Old Thermostat

using old thermostat in home

The thermostat is the brain of your home heating and cooling system. While its basic function is to turn your furnace or air conditioner on or off, there is a lot more that your thermostat can do for you.

If you have one of the old style rotary thermostats, it may be time to upgrade. Digital thermostats over a variety of functions and benefits not available with an old thermostat.

Lower Your Energy Bills

Digital controls offer you much more detailed temperature sensing and control. Because of this fine control, you are able to reduce the amount of energy your heating and cooling systems use.

For example, a digital thermostat allows you to program the system to run at cooler or warmer settings when you are not at home. Another advantage is that you can adjust your temperatures for the time of day, or even days of the week. This can reflect a huge savings in your energy consumption bills, possibly as much as 15 to 20%.

Get Rid of the Mercury

In the past less was known about the dangers of mercury. In recent years, these dangers have been more widely published.

Older rotary thermostats have a mercury switch that turns the thermostat on and off. Should it become damaged or broken, you may have a mess to clean up and dispose of. There is a chance this can endanger your health and safety. Digital thermostats do not have mercury switches and remove that possible issue from your HVAC system.

Detailed Data on your HVAC System

A rotary thermostat can really only tell you if your HVAC system is on or off. There is no way for it to give you any further feedback about your system.

Digital thermostats are capable of much more. They can show you the status of your air filter. Digital controls can show you the health of your system by monitoring motor and fan speeds. You have much more information available at your fingertips that can help you make decisions about any service that might need to be performed on your system.

Finer Control

Ever come home in the evening to a freezing cold house because the thermostat was set to cool instead of heat? This is not an issue with a digital thermostat. Most can be set to an automatic mode that will sense if the house needs to be heated or cooled. You will need to make sure there is a mode compatible with your HVAC system.

Control a Zoning System

If you have interest in installing and controlling a zoning system in your home, a digital thermostat would be required to control it properly. Only a digital thermostat can allow you to take advantage of the benefits of a zoning system.

Whether it is a need for finer control or a desire to have the feedback of a touch system at your fingertips, consider upgrading that old rotary thermostat today.

How a Programmable Thermostat Can Dramatically Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs

Happy to save money with programmable thermostat
Many people do not take the time to adjust their thermostat when going to bed or leaving the house, and understandably so. Pausing on your way out the door or before you get in bed can be a huge inconvenience.

The reason most people do not take the time to adjust their thermostat is most likely because they have no interest in changing the temperature in the first place. Most homeowners do not enjoy waking up to an uncomfortably hot or cold house, and coming home to one after a hard day’s work is even less desirable.

What many people do not know is that running an air conditioner at normal capacity when out of the house or asleep can be the largest contributor to high energy costs. To save yourself the unpleasantness of a sweltering hot or freezing cold house while also saving you money every month on their power bill, consider buying a programmable thermostat.

What a Programmable Thermostat Does

Programmable thermostats can be set with a schedule to correspond with your daily routine.

For instance, around the time you usually leave the house during the hot months, the thermostat can be set to automatically allow the temperature to go up ten or so degrees. This setting will eliminate wasted effort cooling the house when no one is around to enjoy it. Thirty minutes before you usually come back home, the air conditioning can kick in to have the house nice and cool before you return.

By allowing the HVAC system to rest during this time, less energy is wasted and less strain is placed upon your central air system. Your power bills go down, and your need for HVAC repairs will be less frequent.

If you are worried about the temperature getting high enough to damage goods or harm pets, you can program the thermostat to kick in at a higher range than usual rather than shutting itself off altogether.

Myth: It Takes More Energy to Cool a Hot Room than It Does to Run the AC All Day

There is a common misconception that it is more efficient to run your air conditioner all day rather than switching off the unit and then turning it back on. While it does take more energy to change a room from 80° to 65° than it does to bring a room from 67° to 65°, having the air conditioner constantly turning on to make the minor adjustment while no one is around consumes far more energy than letting it rest.

Types of Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats offer different levels of customization based on the model used. As a rule of thumb, the more options and features a programmable thermostat has, the more expensive it will be.

The models are typically based upon the number of programs the thermostat can run per week.

1-week programming – Every single day will have the same schedule
5-2 programming – One schedule for every week day, and a different one for weekends
5-1-1 programming – One schedule for week days, and separate ones for Saturday and Sunday
7-day programming – A different schedule allowed for every day of the week

Programmable thermostats offer different interface options and different numbers of actions per schedule. In other words, some thermostats can adjust themselves six or more times per day based on when people will be coming or going, while others may only allow four adjustments.

The type of thermostat you choose depends entirely on your budget and your desired level of customization, but remember that any programmable thermostat will be able to save you money every single month and while helping save the environment too.

To discuss the benefits of a programmable thermostat and see what options might be best for your family, contact us and we will be happy to help you with any questions.

Installing a Thermostat

Installing thermostat in home
In the heat of the summer and the dead of winter your thermostat is what keeps your building comfortable. It regulates the temperature of your HVAC system for both the furnace and the air conditioner. This allows you to set the level of heat or cold to where you want it and makes sure that the levels remain constant.

At some point you will want to update, replace or install a new thermostat. The process is fairly straightforward if you are comfortable working with electrical wires. As with most HVAC systems, it is always best to consult with a qualified professional.

Choosing Your Thermostat

Especially if you have an old-fashioned dial-based thermostat, upgrading to a high-end programmable one offers many advantages. It can save you money on your utility bills by being more efficient, and you can alter the temperature levels for different days or hours within a single day.

Your thermostat can be set to keep the HVAC levels (heating or cold) low during times when you’re not home and increase the system output when you are home. Do some research; there are many brands of programmable thermostat out there, you want to choose the best one for your needs.

For more detailed information see our recent post on choosing the right thermostat for your home.

Removing the Existing Thermostat

Make sure that you turn off the power to your HVAC system before diving in. Doing so allows you to avoid not only electric shocks, but damage to your system from short circuits. When your power is shut off, you can safely disconnect the thermostat.

There are four wires that connect your thermostat to the system. Disconnecting your system is a simple as removing these wires from the thermostat. Wrap them around a dowel rod, pen or pencil to keep them from falling back into the wall. Should you lose the wires inside the wall, they may be difficult to retrieve.

Installing the New Device

The new thermostat should, just like the old, have four ports for installing wires. Match the wires to the color labels on the new system. For example, the yellow wire will attach to the terminal labeled “Y”. Always follow the letter codes over the order you had them on the old system. On the new one, the yellow wire could go where the blue one went on the old.

Install the new wall plate, drilling new screw holes and wall anchors if needed and install new batteries into your thermostat. Finally, snap the new thermostat into the wall plate.

Programming

The final step is to activate and program your new thermostat. Turn the power to your system back on, and set your time and temperature. If you have had programmable thermostats in the past, this should be somewhat intuitive. Many devices have similar functionality, at least considering setting temperatures.

Consult the manufacturer’s manual for instructions on using advanced features, such as hourly, daily and weekly settings or setting the time.

Installing, upgrading and replacing the thermostat for your HVAC system is a relatively simple process that can save you money in the long run. Should you run into any problems, contact a qualified HVAC professional for help.

For more information see our video on how to set your thermostat while on vacation:

Saving money by adjusting ac thermostat

Choosing the Right Thermostat

Saving money by adjusting ac thermostat
When it comes time to upgrade your thermostat or replace a broken one, you’ll want to make sure that the one you choose is ideal for fitting your HVAC system. Different buildings have different types of systems; within those systems are many options and variations. Selecting the correct thermostat for your system can save you a great deal of time and money in the future. Selecting the wrong one can present problems.

Your HVAC System

There are several varieties of systems on the market, and the first thing you’ll want to do is determine which type your building uses. The types of HVAC systems are:

• Single Stage: These systems are of the traditional variety and are the most commonly encountered. They boast a single output from the furnace. Homes that use forced air, gas or electric air conditioning which is kept separately from the heating system use this type of HVAC.

• Multi Stage: These systems use two heating levels—combining a traditional furnace with solar power, for example. The second method of heating is generally a backup or emergency generator for heat.

• Heat Pumps: These systems handle both heating and cooling in one unit, but it draws coolant from a separate air conditioning system. If you have a heat pump system in your home, you’ll know.

• Multi-Stage Heat Pumps: These are the most advanced HVAC systems on the market. They use a heat pump for an emergency backup when heating and cooling. Normally, the heat pump will be attached to a traditional heating and cooling system, helping to further regulate the system.

• Line Voltage: This type of HVAC system does not use low-voltage wires like most systems, but draws direct current from the home. Generally speaking, line voltage systems are used in older homes, and runs on 120 or 240 volts. If you have an old-fashioned dial thermostat, you may have a line voltage system.

Features

The next step is to decide which features you want in your new thermostat. Various models allow you to program at different levels, with different combinations for days, hours and weeks. Make sure that you list the options you need—do you need hourly programming? Twice a day? Daily? This will narrow down the list of potential thermostats.

You may also, depending on the type of HVAC system you have, decide not to use a programmable one, but a digital or mechanical system which features a basic on/off switch. Digital models will have an easy-to-read display which resembles a digital clock, while mechanical ones are old-fashioned systems that simply use a straightforward switch to turn the system on and off.

Selecting the Model

You know the system you have and the features you want in your new system. It’s now time to do a bit of homework. Hit the internet, and talk to some HVAC professionals. Narrow down your list of options based on price, reliability, consumer reviews and professional recommendations.

Choosing the right thermostat for your HVAC system is key to keeping your utilities bills low, and your home warm in the winter and cool in the hot summer months.

Turning down termostat before leaving the house

Should You Turn off Your AC When You Go on Vacation?

Turning down termostat before leaving the house

Summer is just around the corner which means that the season of summer vacations is rapidly approaching. Whether you’re headed hiking in a national park for a week or plan on lounging around at the beach for a long weekend before you hit the road you may find yourself wondering, “should I turn off my AC? Or leave it on?”

It is quite a conundrum. After all, nobody likes to arrive home after a long day of post-vacation travel to a house that is hotter than an oven. But then again you certainly don’t want to waste energy. And if you’re going to be gone for a while air condition blazing at full blast for the duration of your vacation could be rough on your bank account (cooling a home certainly isn’t cheap!). So, what to do?

The bottom line is that you should never completely shut down your air conditioning while you are away. When you shut off your air conditioning air stops circulating and starts to condensate, which leads to a significant heat build-up that can do damage to wooden items like cabinets, doors, and flooring. When wood begins to heat up it starts to expand. For example, in severe cases when the air conditioning is off and home temperatures rise dramatically wooden flooring could expand and buckle. Extremely high temperatures can also cause mold, peeling, paint, and musty smells. Ultimately, leaving the air-conditioning running is a good preventative investment. If you are worried about the costs associated with leaving your air conditioning going while you are away we guarantee that fixing a buckled wooden floor is going to be a lot harder on your wallet.

With that being said, however, it isn’t necessary to leave your air-conditioning going at full blast. If you have a programmable thermostat you’re in luck. Ideally you will want to program the temperature to a steady 85 degrees while you are gone and then program the temperature to drop into the low 70s the day of your return so you don’t have to come home to a sauna. If you have a manual thermostat you will still want to crank up the temperature while you are gone to avoiding wasting energy. The drawback is that you will just have to deal with a hot house when you return.