What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have probably heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t instantly save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize your savings, you should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat to the fullest. 

As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to consistently change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Check out 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, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. For instance, radiant floor heating may require 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 comparable. Separate 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 best if your family’s schedule varies consistently. 
  • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is 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 creates one schedule for the whole week. 

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat 

The ability to schedule setback periods while you’re gone or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the beginning of the season. While you can determine the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work: 

  • 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 during the summer. 
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to set the temperature back 10 degrees around 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function ensures 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 set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees during the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Try these tips to get the most from your upgrade: 

  • Try not to override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you feel uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before touching 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 lasts 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 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down. 
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries annually 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 prefer to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.