What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

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

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 every day. For the everyday home, this amounts to about $180 per year. Try 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 HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for 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 close. Various models offer varying levels of control throughout the week. Here are the four principal options:

    • 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is best if your family’s schedule changes regularly.
    • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is about the same Monday through Friday but unique on Saturday and Sunday.
    • 5-2 programming lets you set separate weekday and weekend schedules.
    • 1-week programming sticks to one schedule for the whole 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. Finalize the settings you want at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work:

    • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 around 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees over the summer.
    • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery period resumes a comfortable temperature before you return home. 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 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:

    • Don’t override programmed settings: You can always override the current temperature if you feel uncomfortable. Although, your energy usage will increase if you constantly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or turn on a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat.
    • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow temporary overrides without deleting the current setting. This is known as 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 go back to your regular schedule until you manually remove the hold.
    • Don’t make steep 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 minor adjustment while preventing the energy waste of cranking the temperature way up or down.
    • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries annually at a time you can easily remember, such as the new year or when the kids head off to school in the fall.

Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat

If you want to set it and forget it, choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.