You have most likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce 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 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 if you use 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. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your other equipment. For instance, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, evaluate the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule fluctuates regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is about 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 sticks to one schedule for the entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to set up setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes 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 about 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be about 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 out on comfort. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only lasts until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume your regular schedule until you personally remove 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 avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of replacing 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 Finch Air Conditioning & Heating for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits thanks to remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office today.