We moved into the new house that we bought in August 2013 a little outside of Springfield Missouri. This house is more rural than it is urban and is far enough away from the city that it cannot have piped in natural gas available. I never had a house I didn’t have natural gas and so it’s a little bit of a learning experience for me. There are two furnaces in this house, one for the main floor and one for upstairs. One for the main floor is larger than the one for the upstairs area. They are both electric.
At one time they used to be connected to two heat pumps. But the previous owners had replaced each heat pump unit with straight air conditioning units. Coming from the Chicago area I was not familiar with how a heat pump works and didn’t fully understand what it meant that the heat pumps for this house were basically uninstalled. The way that it was described to me is that a heat pump works like an air conditioner in reverse. They are only supposed to be good if the outside temp stays above a certain tempature, 32 degrees for example.
What it meant for us is that the only heat source for the house were two fireplaces, one wood-burning and the other had once been woodburning but had been converted to a gas log, and the two electric furnaces. The fireplace with the gas log did not really produce any heat to speak of. It was hooked up with 100 lb propane tank which sat on the outside of the wall. The wood-burning stove in our family room is an older one and not as efficient as a newer one. For the most part our house was being heated by the two electric furnaces which we soon discovered was extremely expensive. When the cold weather hit we saw our monthly electric bill quadruple from one month to the next. We had to take some drastic action and figure out a better solution for heating our house.
The first thing I did was replace the gas logs in the fireplace in the living room with a new wood-burning stove. This made a huge difference. More on that to come in a future post.
Even with the newer wood stove, there were a couple of times during the day that we found that needed to be supplemented with additional heat. Early in the morning much of the wood that we had packed into the stoves the night before had been burned off. While there was still some heat being produced, the wood stoves were not putting out enough heat to keep us warm. The other time was at night before we go to bed when the kids frequently take their showers.
The answer was to replace our old thermostats with new programmable thermostats. When I looked at programmable thermostats online I realized that there some that were way overkill for our needs. There were thermostats that allow you to access them with smart phone apps so that you can adjust them remotely. Since our schedule is very consistent there was no need for the extra expense. So I bought two Lux TX9000-TS units.
Installing the units was fairly easy. The biggest key is to mark the wires with the correct corresponding letter when uninstalling the old unit. I marked them according to the way they were connected on the older thermostats. There were some dip switches that control the system functions that I had to set to match our heating and cooling systems.
This model has four different time zones of the day. They are morning, day, evening, and night. You can define the starting times for each of these parts the day and it can be different for each day of the week. I have ours set up so that morning and evening only last for one hour and are at the times that we need the extra boost (to around 65 or 66). Otherwise it’s set at 61 or 62° for the day and night respectively. I don’t expect them to kick in often since the wood stoves should keep the house temp higher than that.