You have probably heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t instantly save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to automatically set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the everyday 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, verify the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating may call for a different type of thermostat than one designed 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 similar. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule each day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is 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 capability to set up setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, 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 start your day. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be around 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule ensures a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be approximately 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 about 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 comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is known as 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 resume your regular schedule until you manually clear the hold.
- Don’t make large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, adjust the thermostat by just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this small adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during 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 want to set it and forget it, call Broad Ripple Service Experts for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Broad Ripple Service Experts office today.