What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t automatically save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly. 

According to 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 close to $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills. 

How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat 

As you look at different thermostats, verify the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating might require a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling. 

Then, assess the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Different models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four primary options: 

  • 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes regularly. 
  • 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but unique on Saturday and Sunday. 
  • 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules. 
  • 1-week programming sticks to one schedule for every day of the 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 easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, 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 in the summer. 
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing 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. That said, your energy usage will increase if you regularly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only lasts 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 drastic 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 adjusting the temperature way up or down. 
  • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of replacing the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids head off 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 choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.