You have likely heard that installing 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 should 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 if you use a programmable thermostat to automatically change 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. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one developed 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 similar. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is about the same Monday through Friday but unique 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 simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work:
- 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 approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule ensures a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you constantly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only persists until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave for longer periods. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume your regular schedule until you manually clear the hold.
- Don’t make drastic temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change the thermostat by only 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 need 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 return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, turn to Roland J. Down Service Experts for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Roland J. Down Service Experts office today.