You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t instantly save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to consistently set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the everyday home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Follow 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, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Different models offer varied levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is best if your family’s schedule varies regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 creates one schedule for the entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to set up setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer 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 an ordinary weekday schedule might work:
- 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 during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes 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 about 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:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you regularly change the settings. Put on 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 can create temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only persists 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 personally 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 slight adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to stop the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you prefer to set it and forget it, choose Strogen's Service Experts for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed with even more benefits thanks to 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 Strogen's Service Experts office today.