You have most likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can bring down 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 make the most of your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can 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 everyday home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Various models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies daily.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but different 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 set up setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s schedules, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 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 period provides 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 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 benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is called the “temporary hold,” which only persists until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return to your regular schedule until you personally disable the hold.
- Don’t make drastic 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 preventing the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to stop the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries once a year at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, turn to Calverley Service Experts for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with 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 Calverley Service Experts office today.