You have most likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t automatically save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you must 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 if you use a programmable thermostat to consistently adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the everyday 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 Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare 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 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. Different models offer varying levels of control during the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule each day. This is best if your family’s schedule fluctuates consistently.
- 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 unique on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming sticks to one schedule for every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to program setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it simpler 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 schedules, 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 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 adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be around 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 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 benefit 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 feel uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up if you constantly change the settings. Don 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only lasts until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume your regular schedule until you personally clear the hold.
- Don’t make large 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 adjusting 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 replacing the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, choose Atmostemp Service Experts for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer 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 call your local Atmostemp Service Experts office today.