You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you ought to 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 consistently change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the average home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, verify the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating might necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created 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 dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes consistently.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent 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 simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can determine 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 recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before leaving for 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 provides a comfortable temperature before you return home. This setting should be around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 in 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. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is called the “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 disable the hold.
- Don’t make large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this small adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year 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 want to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed with even more benefits such as 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.