You have most likely 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 exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average 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 Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating might call for 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 similar. Various models offer varied levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule every day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is about the same Monday through Friday but distinct on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming creates one schedule for every day of the 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. Establish the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be around 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule ensures a comfortable temperature before you return home. 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 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 really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up 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 existing setting. This is referred to as a “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 remove 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 minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Change 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, such as 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, turn to Stevenson Service Experts for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 Stevenson Service Experts office today.