You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can reduce 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 make the most of your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.
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 automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the ordinary 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 Shop for a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating can require a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling functionality. 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 main options:
- 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule fluctuates regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is the same 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 the whole week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The capability to set up setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create 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 needs, 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 for the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period ensures 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 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 aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you are uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Put on 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is called the “temporary hold,” which only continues until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave 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 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 run on batteries to keep 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 head off to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, call Jack Nelson Service Experts for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with 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 Jack Nelson Service Experts office today.