You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t instantly save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you must 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 if you use a programmable thermostat to routinely change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the everyday home, this amounts to around $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. As an example, radiant floor heating might call for a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, examine the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Different models offer varying levels of control during the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule each day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule changes daily.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is about 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 follows one schedule for the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to schedule setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s schedules, here’s how an ordinary 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 for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule 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 benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Put on 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is called the “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 disable the hold.
- Don’t make drastic temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change the thermostat by only 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 need batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries once a year 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 want to set it and forget it, turn to Stark Services for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details 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 call your local Stark Services office today.