You have probably heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t automatically 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 to the fullest.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to routinely set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the average home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating might call for a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Different models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule fluctuates regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 creates one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to set up 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 choose the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE suggests 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 about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule 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 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 part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or use 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 called the “temporary hold,” which only persists 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 steep 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 avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted after 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 go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, turn to Strand Brothers Service Experts for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with 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 Strand Brothers Service Experts office today.