What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely 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 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 if you use a programmable thermostat to routinely 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 bills.

How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat

As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.

Then, assess the scheduling options. 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 principal options:

    • 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes daily.
    • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best 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 creates one schedule for the entire week.

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat

The ability to schedule setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier 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 ideal for your family’s schedules, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:

    • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE recommends 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 leaving for work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
    • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule ensures a comfortable temperature before you return home. This setting should be about 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 set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees during 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. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:

    • Don’t override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before changing the thermostat.
    • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats enable temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is called the “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 manually remove the hold.
    • Don’t make steep 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
    • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to stop the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall.

Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat

If you want to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits like 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.