You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t instantly save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
As reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the everyday home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can require a different type of thermostat than one designed 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 comparable. Different models offer varying levels of control during the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is perfect 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 consistent Monday through Friday but distinct on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming follows one schedule for every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes a comfortable temperature before you return home. 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 about 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 aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you consistently 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 can create 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 disable the hold.
- Don’t make large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change the thermostat by just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this slight adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids head off to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits thanks to 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.