You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can bring down 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 make the most of your savings, you must 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 with the help of a programmable thermostat to automatically 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. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your other equipment. For example, radiant floor heating may necessitate a different type of thermostat than one developed 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. Different models offer varied levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is best if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily.
- 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 different 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 out of the house or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you want at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s preferences, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule resumes 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 about 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in 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. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you regularly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before changing the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the active 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 clear the hold.
- Don’t make large 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 minor 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 during a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries once a year 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’re ready 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 thanks to remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.