You have probably heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t automatically save just by exchanging 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 properly.
As stated by 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 automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the everyday home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm 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, evaluate the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer varying levels of control during the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is perfect 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 different 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 easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the beginning 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 work:
- 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 heading into 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 period provides a comfortable temperature before you return home. 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through 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 set temperature if you are uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the active 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 for longer periods. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return to your regular schedule until you personally clear 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 minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year 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’re ready to set it and forget it, call Stevenson 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 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 call your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.