What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that putting in a programmable thermostat can bring down your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t immediately save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To optimize 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 with the help of a programmable thermostat to automatically set back the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day. For the everyday home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bill. 

How to Shop for a Programmable Thermostat 

As you look at different thermostats, confirm the compatibility with your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating can call for a different type of thermostat than one created 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 comparable. Different models offer dynamic levels of control all through the week. Here are the four main options: 

  • 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is best if your family’s schedule varies daily. 
  • 5-1-1 programming offers a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good if your routine is about the same 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 capability to program 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 select the times and temperatures that work best for your family’s schedules, here’s how the average weekday schedule might work: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat provides a comfortable temperature in time for you to start your day. The DOE suggests 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer. 
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule provides a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. 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 for 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 losing out on comfort. Check out these tips to get the most from your upgrade: 

  • Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you feel uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will increase if you consistently change the settings. Add an extra layer in the winter or grab a fan in the summer before touching the thermostat. 
  • Use the correct hold feature: All programmable thermostats allow 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 leave for longer periods. 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, adjust the thermostat by only a degree or two. You should feel more comfortable after making this minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of adjusting the temperature way up or down. 
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted during 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 return 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 provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which come with even more benefits like 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.