What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t instantly 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 could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to routinely set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the everyday home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Try 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, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating may call for a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling.

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

  • 7-day programming provides a different schedule each day. This is best if your family’s schedule changes consistently.
  • 5-1-1 programming creates 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 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 easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you want at the start of the season. While you can select the times and temperatures that are ideal for your family’s schedules, 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 start your day. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during the winter and 88 degrees in the summer.
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule provides a comfortable temperature before you are home for the day. 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 for 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be set to 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees through 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. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:

  • Don't override programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are really uncomfortable. However, your energy usage will increase if you constantly 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 enable temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is referred to as a “temporary hold,” which only persists until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave for longer periods. 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, adjust the thermostat by only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this small adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down.
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to keep the settings from being deleted after a power outage. Make a habit of replacing the batteries annually 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 want to set it and forget it, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info 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 additional information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please call your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.