You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t automatically 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.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could 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 ordinary home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Check out 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, check the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating might call for a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Different models offer varying levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect if your family’s schedule varies regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best 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 sticks to one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to set up setback periods while you're gone 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 select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function ensures a comfortable temperature before you return home. This setting should be about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are really uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you consistently 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 referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only lasts until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you are out of town. 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 only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to stop the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries yearly 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 prefer to set it and forget it, choose 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 more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.