You have probably heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t immediately 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 properly.
As reported by 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 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 Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, verify the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating may call for a different type of thermostat than one developed 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 all through the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule every day. This is best if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent 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 capability to set up setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be around 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule ensures a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. 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 about 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 benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing 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 are really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you constantly 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 allow 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 leave for longer periods. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume your regular schedule until you manually disable the hold.
- Don’t make steep 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 minor adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year 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 want to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.