You have likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can bring down 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 ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
According to 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 adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating might necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created 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 comparable. Separate models offer varying levels of control during the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule every day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule varies daily.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best 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 creates one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to set up setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be about 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period ensures a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. This setting should be around 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 around 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 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 uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you constantly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or use 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 called the “temporary hold,” which only persists 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 resume your regular schedule until you manually clear the hold.
- Don’t make drastic temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by just 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.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, like 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help choosing 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 more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.