You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t automatically save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can 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 each day. For the everyday home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Follow 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 example, radiant floor heating may call for a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect 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 the same Monday through Friday but unique on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming creates one schedule for every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to schedule setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function ensures a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be approximately 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 during the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or grab 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 referred to as a “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 go back to your regular schedule until you manually remove the hold.
- Don’t make steep temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change the thermostat by only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this small adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of adjusting 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 annually 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’re ready to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits such as remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.