You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t instantly save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize 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 can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to routinely adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each 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 costs.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating may require a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine the scheduling functionality. 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 principal options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule on a daily basis. This is best if your family’s schedule changes consistently.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 ability to schedule setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides 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 around 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 period ensures a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. This setting should be approximately 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 set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best aspect 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 set temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you regularly change the settings. Add 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 can create temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is called the “temporary hold,” which only lasts 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 resume your regular schedule until you manually remove 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 turning the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids head off to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, turn to Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed 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 call your local Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning office today.