You have most likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t instantly save just by swapping out 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.
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 routinely adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to close to $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 other equipment. For instance, radiant floor heating can require 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. Different models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect if your family’s schedule varies consistently.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent 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 entire 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. Finalize 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 preferences, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before going to 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 function resumes a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. 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 during the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing 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. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or grab 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 referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only continues until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t go back to your regular schedule until you personally disable the hold.
- Don’t make steep 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 small adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, like 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, turn to Fras-Air/General Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits such as remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Fras-Air/General Service Experts office today.