You have most likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t automatically save just by replacing 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 to the fullest.
As reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs if you use a programmable thermostat to routinely 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. Try 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 the rest of your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, evaluate the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Various models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. 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 good if your routine is 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 entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, 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 suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before heading into 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 return home. This setting should be approximately 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature around 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be about 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees during the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or grab 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 referred to as a “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 resume your regular schedule until you personally disable the hold.
- Don’t make large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change the thermostat by just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this slight adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted because of 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 return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, call TML Service Experts for help choosing 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 more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local TML Service Experts office today.