What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs. While this is indeed true, you don’t immediately save just by swapping out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To make the most of 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 can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to automatically 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. 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, check the compatibility with your other equipment. For example, radiant floor heating may necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created 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 similar. Different models offer dynamic levels of control during the week. Here are the four main options: 

  • 7-day programming allows for a different schedule on a daily basis. This is best if your family’s schedule fluctuates daily. 
  • 5-1-1 programming creates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is good 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 follows one schedule for the entire week. 

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat 

The capability to set up setback periods while you’re out of the house or sleeping makes it easy to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you prefer at the start of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s preferences, here’s how an ordinary weekday schedule might look: 

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat achieves 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 about 30 minutes before going to work. This setting should be approximately 58 degrees during 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 around 30 minutes before bed. This nighttime setting should be around 65 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees during the summer. 

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat 

The best benefit 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 go up if you consistently change the settings. Put on 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 active 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 personally 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 minor adjustment while avoiding the energy waste of turning the temperature way up or down. 
  • Change the batteries: Most programmable thermostats use batteries to prevent the settings from being deleted because of a power outage. Make a habit of checking the batteries yearly 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’re ready to set it and forget it, choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help finding and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also share more info 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 information or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.