What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively. 

As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs if you use a programmable thermostat to consistently set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill. 

How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat 

As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling. 

Then, examine the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer varying levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four main options: 

  • 7-day programming provides a different schedule every day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule fluctuates regularly. 
  • 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is about the same 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 ability to schedule setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s schedules, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might work: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. 
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be around 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period ensures a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be approximately 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during 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 during the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade: 

  • Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, 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 touching the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is called the “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 clear the hold. 
  • Don’t make drastic temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down. 
  • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids head off 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 & Plumbing for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info 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 & Plumbing office today.