You have probably heard that having a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t automatically 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.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to routinely set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to close to $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, verify the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating may 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 similar. Separate models offer varying levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is the same Monday through Friday but unique 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 beginning of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s preferences, 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 start your day. The DOE recommends 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 around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period ensures a comfortable temperature before you return home. This setting should be about 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 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:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up if you consistently 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 current setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only lasts 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 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 because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries once a year 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, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.