You have likely heard that installing a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs if you use a programmable thermostat to consistently adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the everyday home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, evaluate the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something comparable. Separate models offer dynamic levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four primary options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily.
- 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 creates one schedule for every day of the week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it simpler 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 work:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be around 58 degrees in 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 around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Follow 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 use a fan in the summer before adjusting 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 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 go back to your regular schedule until you personally remove the hold.
- Don’t make large 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 preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
- Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop 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 go back to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, turn to Rolf Griffin Service Experts for help finding 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 contact your local Rolf Griffin Service Experts office today.