You have probably heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t immediately save just by replacing your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of your savings, you ought to 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 routinely set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the everyday home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat
As you compare thermostats, verify the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one created 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 similar. Different models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows a different schedule each day. This is best if your family’s schedule changes daily.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent 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 entire week.
How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to schedule setback periods while you’re away or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s schedules, here’s how a typical 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 in the summer.
- Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be about 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for 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 approximately 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 during the summer.
Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat
The best benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:
- Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before changing the thermostat.
- Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the current 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 town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t go back to your regular schedule until you personally disable 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.
- 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 yearly 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, choose McElroy Service Experts for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local McElroy Service Experts office today.