What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging 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 stated 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 automatically 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. 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, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating may require a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.

Then, examine the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer varied levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four main options:

    • 7-day programming allows for a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies daily.
    • 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 follows one schedule for the whole 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. Establish the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s preferences, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might work:

    • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
    • Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
    • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
    • Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 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:

    • Don’t override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or use 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 known as the “temporary hold,” which only persists 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 manually disable 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
    • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of replacing the batteries annually 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 prefer to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits thanks to 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.