You have probably heard that installing a programmable thermostat can reduce 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 optimize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
As reported 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 consistently 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. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with your other equipment. For example, radiant floor heating might necessitate a different type of thermostat than one developed 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. Various models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule varies daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 creates one schedule for the whole 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 simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the start 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 get out of bed. The DOE suggests 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 going to work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule resumes a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. 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 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. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are really uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you constantly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before changing the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the existing 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 return to your regular schedule until you manually disable 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 small adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to keep the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of replacing 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 prefer to set it and forget it, turn to Norrell Service Experts for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits thanks to remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Norrell Service Experts office today.