You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to consistently adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with your other equipment. For example, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, evaluate the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Different models offer varied levels of control during the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but unique on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming sticks to one schedule for every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to schedule setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s needs, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for 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 period provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only lasts 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 resume your regular schedule until you personally disable the hold.
- Don’t make steep 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you prefer to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer 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.