You have probably heard that having 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 make the most of your savings, you ought to 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 routinely adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the ordinary 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 look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one created 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 close. Different models offer varied levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four primary 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 creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but distinct on Saturday and Sunday.
- 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
- 1-week programming sticks to one schedule for the entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to program setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s schedules, 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 start your day. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period ensures a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. 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 comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before changing the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only persists until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you are out of town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return to your regular schedule until you manually disable the hold.
- Don’t make steep temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after 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 go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you prefer to set it and forget it, choose Donelson Air Service Experts for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Donelson Air Service Experts office today.