What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is genuinely true, you don’t instantly save just by exchanging 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 properly.

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 adjust the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Follow these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill.

How to Find a Programmable Thermostat

As you compare thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your other equipment. As an example, radiant floor heating can necessitate a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling.

Then, examine the scheduling functionality. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something close. Various models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four primary options:

  • 7-day programming provides a different schedule every day. This is best if your family’s schedule changes daily.
  • 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 follows one schedule for the entire week.

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat

The ability to schedule setback periods while you're gone 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 determine the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s needs, here’s how a typical weekday schedule might work:

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function resumes 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be about 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 sacrificing comfort. Try 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. That said, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Don 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 allow temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is called the “temporary hold,” which only lasts until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you are out of town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t go back to your regular schedule until you manually clear the hold.
  • Don’t make drastic 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking 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 replacing 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 prefer to set it and forget it, choose Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits such as 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 office today.

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