You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce 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 maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using 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 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, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating might require 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 close. Different models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule every day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 capability to schedule setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it easier 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 needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before leaving for 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 function provides a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. This setting should be approximately 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 part about 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 current temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, 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 changing the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is called the “temporary hold,” which only continues 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 personally 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 cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries yearly 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 want to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits such as 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.