You have probably 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 to the fullest.
As reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to consistently set back 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. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your other equipment. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Various models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is about 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 program setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the start 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 reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule provides 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 around 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 aspect of 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 current temperature if you are uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up if you regularly 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 can create 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 town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t go back 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.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to keep the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you prefer to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed with even more benefits like remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.