You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
As stated by 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 adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating can require a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule each day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better if your routine is about the same Monday through Friday but unique 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 set up setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create 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 preferences, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work:
- 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 for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before going to 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 provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in 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. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you regularly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before adjusting the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is known as the “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 remove the hold.
- Don’t make drastic 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 small adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids head off to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, call Falso Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info 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 Falso Service Experts office today.