What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest. 

As stated by 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 set back 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. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill. 

How to Find a Programmable Thermostat 

As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating might require 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 close. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options: 

  • 7-day programming allows for a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies daily. 
  • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best 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 follows one schedule for the entire 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 start of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE recommends 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 heading into work. This setting should be around 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees over the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period provides a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. 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 around 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade: 

  • Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before adjusting 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 personally remove the hold. 
  • Don’t make drastic 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 avoiding the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down. 
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries yearly 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’re ready to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info 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 call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.