What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have probably heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t instantly save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.

As reported 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 ordinary home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.

How to Find a Programmable Thermostat

As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, 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 comparable. Separate models offer varying levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options:

    • 7-day programming allows for a different schedule every day. This is best if your family’s schedule changes daily.
    • 5-1-1 programming offers 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 creates one schedule for the whole week.

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat

The ability to set up setback periods while you’re gone or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how the average weekday schedule might look:

    • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE recommends 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 about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
    • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule provides 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 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. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:

    • Don’t override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
    • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the current 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 go back to your regular schedule until you manually 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 minor adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
    • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year 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 finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.