What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have probably heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t automatically save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly. 

As stated 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 automatically adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average 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 Find a Programmable Thermostat 

As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating might require a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling. 

Then, evaluate the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer varying levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four main options: 

  • 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes consistently. 
  • 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is about 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 sticks to one schedule for the entire week. 

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat 

The ability to set up setback periods while you’re out of the house or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create 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 needs, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves 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: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be around 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. 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 around 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be set to 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 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. However, 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 touching the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow 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 are out of town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume 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 just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down. 
  • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries yearly 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 prefer to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits like remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.