You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you ought to select, set up and use a programmable thermostat effectively.
As reported 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 consistently adjust 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. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs.
How to Find a Programmable Thermostat
As you look at different thermostats, check the compatibility with 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, examine the scheduling controls. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Separate models offer varying levels of control all through the week. Here are the four principal options:
- 7-day programming allows for a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
- 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but distinct 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 away or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Establish the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s schedules, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look:
- Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 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 about 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer.
- Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes a comfortable temperature before you return home. 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 around 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 part about 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 current temperature if you are really uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you regularly change the settings. Add 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 enable 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 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 large temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change the thermostat by just a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this minor adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down.
- Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to stop the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries yearly at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids return to school in the fall.
Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to set it and forget it, choose McKinley Heating Service Experts for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which are designed with even more benefits thanks to remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local McKinley Heating Service Experts office today.