You have likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to routinely adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating can require a different type of thermostat than one created 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 comparable. Different models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is best if your family’s schedule changes consistently.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best 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 sticks to one schedule for the entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to schedule setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you want at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s preferences, here’s how the average weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches 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 set 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 over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule provides a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. This setting should be around 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 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 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. 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 can create temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is referred to as a “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 clear the hold.
- Don’t make large 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.
- Change 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 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, call Peitz Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Peitz Service Experts office today.