You have probably heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
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 each day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Try 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 your other equipment. For example, radiant floor heating can require a different type of thermostat than one created 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 similar. Separate models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule every 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 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 every day of the 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 easier 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 ideal for your family’s preferences, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be about 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through 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. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you regularly 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 called the “temporary hold,” which only persists until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you are out of town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return to 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 small adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re ready to set it and forget it, choose Peachtree Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 contact your local Peachtree Service Experts office today.