You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t instantly save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize 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 by using a programmable thermostat to automatically 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. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.
How to Secure 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 designed for forced-air heating and cooling.
Then, assess the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Various models offer dynamic levels of control all through 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 changes daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 sticks to one schedule for the entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program setback periods while you're out of the house 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 preferences, 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 get out of bed. The DOE recommends 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 about 30 minutes before heading into work. This setting should be about 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be about 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 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. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Don an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create 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 resume your regular schedule until you personally clear the hold.
- Don’t make large 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 avoiding 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, 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, turn to BW/Cook Service Experts for help choosing 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 BW/Cook Service Experts office today.