You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you should 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 with the help of a programmable thermostat to consistently adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the everyday home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, verify the compatibility with your other equipment. As an example, radiant floor heating may require 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 close. Different models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily.
- 5-1-1 programming offers 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 sticks to one schedule for the entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you want at the start of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s preferences, 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 for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 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 about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature around 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be about 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 losing out on comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Don 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 allow temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is referred to as a “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 resume your regular schedule until you manually remove the hold.
- Don’t make drastic 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to stop the settings from being deleted during 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 head off to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, choose All American Air 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 such as 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 All American Air Service Experts office today.