If there is a best reprieve from the summer heat, it is the comfort and reliability of a properly serviced and functioning HVAC system. Unfortunately, there is always a cost for comfort—a point of which my bank account is all too aware. In most of the locations I have lived, I’ve been almost terrified of switching on my heat or air conditioning, knowing that the simple flick of the thermostat’s switch would more than double my energy bill the following month. With a hectic schedule (and sometimes just forgetfulness), I would rarely take the time to reset the temperature at night, or when I left my home for work, school, or travel. Turning on the air conditioning or heat was a point of no return, the moment I conceded to the extremes of the season, and the point where I knew that until that season passed, that switch wouldn’t be touched again.
It wasn’t uncommon for my energy bill to exceed half of the cost for my rent, and my case is no exception.
The average home in the United States spends well over $2,000 on energy bills in a given year, and typically, half of that cost is due to heating and cooling. That’s around $100 a month to regulate an interior temperature by a few degrees. Of course the cost isn’t equally dispersed, and a particularly hot or cold month can cause a substantial blow to finances. If your life is anything like mine, you’ve experienced at least a couple winters where your given choices were to not freeze or not starve.
Then of course, there are further extreme possibilities. Allow me to tell you the story of “The Heat Bandit.”
In the days following Christmas in 2010, before moving to Columbus, Ohio, my roommate and I returned from our respective families and holiday festivities to the scene of a crime. As I exited my car and walked toward the back door, arms loaded with gifts and luggage, I noticed there was something amiss. Footprints in the snow, melted and rounded off—likely a few days old—revealed a curious path around to the side of our house. Intrigued, I followed the steps to our dining room window, where the recycling bin had been overturned and used as a step stool to gain easier entry. No doubt about it, we had been burgled.
I entered the house in a rush, threw down my things, ready to take inventory of all our remaining belongings—and yet, nothing was missing. Curiously, the house felt like an oven, some 80-90 degrees in the last days of December, and when I checked the thermostat I noticed it was set as high as the lever would allow. Nothing else was disturbed. Deadbolts still firmly held the doors. Someone had broken into our home, ignored thousands of dollars of electronics, and exited the way he entered, closing the window behind him—all for the singular purpose of cranking up our heat.
Of course, not all homes or businesses will experience a Heat Bandit, but most businesses will experience an absent-minded or careless employee—and most homes will at some point experience children, and those that do will understand the nigh-impossible attraction a switch or a button has to a child. The more costly the result of touching that button, the more irresistible it is for the child, it seems.
I’ve known friends to return to homes that felt like meat freezers, all because their 6-year-old had an itchy thermostat finger.
Solutions exist to the issue of heating and cooling energy management. Programmable thermostats can provide a reasonable reduction in energy cost by setting a schedule which the HVAC will automatically follow day after day. So, Monday through Friday you can set your thermostat to lessen or even turn off completely any air or heat during hours you are typically away or asleep.
Unfortunately, this only offers you the option of approximation. If you leave or arrive late or early, your thermostat goes right on with its programmed schedule until you manually alter it. And it certainly won’t fix the problem of coming home to an oven or ice-box should an inquisitive child or “Heat Bandit” strike.
Bottom line, weather is fickle. Your busy life probably can’t match a pre-programmed schedule. Mechanical systems like your HVAC are difficult to judge with respect to efficiency. Children, visitors, and employees all have access to your thermostat. Your energy bill has a number of variables which could cause you to overpay, depending on where you live, upward of $1000 a year.
A tough world demands a smart solution. We have one.
With an all-inclusive Alarm.com 2GIG security and home automation system, you are presented with a number of advantages to keep your costs low and your life easy.
The 2GIG thermostat can be programmed—not to change on a schedule like other thermostats—but to change your temperature settings whenever you arm or disarm your system. There is no wasted effort, no time spent re-programming based on an alteration to your daily routine. Your system now works with you, no matter how dynamic your day becomes, and you save money without changing your lifestyle. A nice, cool, comfortable home is a fine thing, but it becomes even better when you only pay to keep it that way during the times you are there to enjoy it.
And if you want to make changes while away, your system can be accessed remotely via smart-phone or laptop. In addition, your 2GIG system can be set to send instant notifications if the temperature of your home or business strays from the normal range, which may indicate a drop in HVAC efficiency that can then be addressed before your energy bill gets out of hand. You can also be instantly notified of any manual changes to the thermostat temperature, should a child or employee feel compelled to touch it, allowing you to immediately reset the level from your phone. Again, no wasted time. No wasted money.
An installation can also include the Solar Gard window film, which cuts the heat transfer from sunlight to your home, blocks UV rays, and also reinforces your windows, protecting them against shattering by an intruder. Security and savings in a single product.
Extra features serve to protect you and your family. With the Alarm.com 2GIG security and home automation system, your HVAC ventilation will automatically turn off in the event of a fire, slowing the spread of smoke and toxic fumes, giving occupants valuable air and time to get to safety.
With the demanding dynamics of modern living taking their toll on your wallet, there is no better time to modernize your home or business to fight back. Contact us at suretyCAM for answers to any questions or concerns.