by Michael Lowrey
Programmable thermostats are all the rage. One problem though: Many people that have them don’t know how to use them. The Washington Post reports about a University of California, Davis study of thermostats and thermostat usage:
Out of 192 people surveyed, 42 percent of respondents said their thermostats were programmable — rather than manual — but many did not seem to know how to use them. Fourteen percent of those claiming to have programmable thermostats said they “do not know where the settings are” while another 25 percent said they “know where the settings are but [they] do not know how to change them.”
The uploaded pictures — which were provided by 30 out of 192 research subjects, who were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk — documented more problems. “About one third of the thermostats were in ‘permanent hold’ mode; this mode interrupts all the programs and turns the programmable thermostat into a manual thermostat,” the authors noted. And for most of these people, no help was coming — a 70 percent majority of all respondents, and 67 percent of respondents who said they did not know how to program their thermostats, also did not know where the thermostat manual was.
Other problems, meanwhile, included thermostats whose time and date settings were way off — making it hard to program timed behavior — and multiple people in the home being involved in setting the thermostat.