What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have probably heard that installing 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 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 if you use a programmable thermostat to routinely set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the average home, this amounts to around $180 per year. Try these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills. 

How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat 

As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. For example, radiant floor heating may necessitate a different type of thermostat than one designed for forced-air heating and cooling. 

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

  • 7-day programming allows a different schedule every day. This is perfect if your family’s schedule fluctuates regularly. 
  • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is better 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 creates one schedule for the whole week. 

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat 

The ability to set up setback periods while you’re gone or sleeping makes it easier to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Finalize the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can determine 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 provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to wake up. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. 
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to set 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 over the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery function ensures a comfortable temperature before you return home. This setting should be around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer. 
  • Sleep at 10:30 pm: Program the thermostat to the nighttime temperature about 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best aspect of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without sacrificing 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 constantly change the settings. Put on 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 current 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 personally disable the hold. 
  • Don’t make steep 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 cranking the temperature way up or down. 
  • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats need batteries to keep the settings from being deleted during a power outage. Make a habit of changing the batteries yearly 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 prefer to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help selecting and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info 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 more information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.