You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can bring down 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 optimize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
As reported 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 consistently adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your other equipment. For instance, radiant floor heating may require a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, evaluate the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Various models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes consistently.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program 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 prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s schedules, 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 get out of bed. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for 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 about 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes 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 around 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 sacrificing comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are really uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you consistently 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 allow 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 resume your regular schedule until you manually remove 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 minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to stop the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, turn to Neal Harris Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with 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 contact your local Neal Harris Service Experts office today.