You have most likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t instantly save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to routinely adjust 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 Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, verify the compatibility with your other equipment. For instance, radiant floor heating can require a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine 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 main options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule each day. This is best if your family’s schedule varies regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 follows one schedule for every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be around 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule resumes a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be approximately 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 set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through 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. Follow 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. However, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Don 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is called 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 return to your regular schedule until you manually disable the hold.
- Don’t make large 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 run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year 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’re ready to set it and forget it, turn to Comfortech Service Experts for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed 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 call your local Comfortech Service Experts office today.