You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t immediately save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to routinely change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the average home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your other equipment. For instance, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, evaluate the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule fluctuates regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but different on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming sticks to one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function ensures a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. This setting should be around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature around 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you constantly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only continues until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave for longer periods. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return to your regular schedule until you manually remove the hold.
- Don’t make large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this small adjustment while preventing the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits like remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.