What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have most likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly. 

As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs if you use a programmable thermostat to automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the average home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling costs. 

How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat 

As you compare thermostats, check the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating might necessitate a different type of thermostat than one developed for forced-air heating and cooling. 

Then, assess the scheduling options. Most programmable thermostats have four daily programs—Wake, Leave, Home and Sleep, or something similar. Different models offer varied levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options: 

  • 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies daily. 
  • 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is consistent Monday through Friday but different 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 program 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 choose the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s schedules, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look: 

  • 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 for 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 around 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees for 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 about 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 through the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Check out 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 go up if you regularly change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before changing the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats can create temporary overrides without deleting the existing setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only continues 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 return to your regular schedule until you manually clear 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 slight adjustment while preventing the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down. 
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to keep the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of replacing the batteries once a year at a time you can easily remember, like the new year or when the kids head off to school in the fall. 

Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat 

If you’re ready to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits thanks to remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.