What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can reduce 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 effectively. 

As reported by 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 automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each 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 costs. 

How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat 

As you compare thermostats, verify the compatibility with your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating might necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created 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 close. Different models offer varied levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options: 

  • 7-day programming allows for a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes daily. 
  • 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is 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 ability to schedule setback periods while you’re out of the house or sleeping makes it easier 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 needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might look: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches 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: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be around 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period 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 set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees during the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Follow 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 really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is called 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 return to your regular schedule until you personally disable 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 minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down. 
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent 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 prefer to set it and forget it, choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today. 

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