You have most likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs if you use a programmable thermostat to automatically set back 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. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your other equipment. For instance, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule each day. This is best if your family’s schedule fluctuates consistently.
- 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 distinct 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 ability to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you want at the start of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s schedules, 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 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 about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule provides a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. 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 about 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 losing out on comfort. Check out 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 increase if you constantly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before changing 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 persists until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return to your regular schedule until you manually disable the hold.
- Don’t make steep 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 minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of replacing the batteries once a year 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, turn to Air Engineers Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Air Engineers Service Experts office today.