You have likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
As stated 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 consistently change 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. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one designed 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 similar. Separate models offer varied levels of control during the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best 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 entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to schedule setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish 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 achieves 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 set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to 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 around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature about 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be about 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. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are really uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only lasts 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 personally remove 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 small adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of turning 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 once a year 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 prefer to set it and forget it, call Golden Seal Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed with even more benefits like 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 Golden Seal Service Experts office today.