You have most likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t automatically save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
As reported by 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 change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every 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 bill.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your other equipment. For instance, 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 close. Various models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule every day. This is best if your family’s schedule changes daily.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s schedules, 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 wake up. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period ensures a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be around 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 in 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. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you consistently change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the active 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 for longer periods. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t go back to 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 only 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 replacing the batteries once a year 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 want to set it and forget it, call Robinson 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 like remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Robinson Service Experts office today.