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 automatically save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you should 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 if you use a programmable thermostat to routinely set back 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. Try 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, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating might call for a different type of thermostat than one created 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 comparable. Various models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is 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 creates one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability 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 are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be around 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you constantly 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only continues until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume your regular schedule until you manually remove the hold.
- Don’t make large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this slight adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries annually 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’re ready to set it and forget it, choose Midway Services for help choosing 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 details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Midway Services office today.