You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t instantly save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you must 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 consistently set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the average 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 Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your other equipment. As an example, radiant floor heating might necessitate 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 comparable. Various models offer varying levels of control during the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 creates one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to schedule setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it simpler 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 are ideal 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 start your day. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be about 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 around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Don 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 allow temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is called the “temporary hold,” which only continues 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 manually remove the hold.
- Don’t make steep 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of replacing the batteries annually 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 Becht/Givens Service Experts for help selecting 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 information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Becht/Givens Service Experts office today.