What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

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 automatically save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to consistently change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill. 

How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat 

As you look at different thermostats, verify 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, examine 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 during the week. Here are the four primary options: 

  • 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is best if your family’s schedule varies consistently. 
  • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is about 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 whole week. 

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat 

The ability to schedule setback periods while you’re gone 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 determine the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might look: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides 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 set 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 resumes a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. 
  • Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature about 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 out on 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 are really uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the existing 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 resume your regular schedule until you personally remove 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 slight adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down. 
  • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to stop the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall. 

Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat 

If you prefer to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 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 more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.