You have probably heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
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 automatically adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Check out 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, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating may necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule every day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule varies regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but distinct 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 capability to program setback periods while you're gone or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, 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 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 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 function ensures a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. This setting should be about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees during 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. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you consistently 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 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 town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t go back to your regular schedule until you personally clear 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 preventing the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to keep the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of checking 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 prefer to set it and forget it, call Gordon's 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 call your local Gordon's Service Experts office today.