What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have 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 should select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs with the help of a programmable thermostat to automatically change the temperature 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day. For the ordinary home, this amounts to close to $180 per year. Check out these programmable thermostat tips to save the most on your heating and cooling bills. 

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 may require a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling. 

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

  • 7-day programming provides a different schedule on a daily basis. This is best if your family’s schedule changes regularly. 
  • 5-1-1 programming generates 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 sticks to one schedule for the entire week. 

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat 

The capability to set up setback periods while you’re away 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 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 wake up. The DOE recommends 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. 
  • Leave at 8:00 am: Instruct the thermostat to adjust the temperature back 10 degrees about 30 minutes before leaving for work. This setting should be about 58 degrees in the winter and 88 degrees for the summer. 
  • Home at 5:30 pm: The automatic recovery schedule resumes a comfortable temperature before you get home from work. This setting should be approximately 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 benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing out on comfort. Try 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. However, your energy usage will go up if you regularly change the settings. Put on an extra layer in the winter or use a fan in the summer before changing 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 town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t resume your regular schedule until you manually disable the hold. 
  • Don’t make steep temperature changes: When you must override a setting, change 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. 
  • Replace the batteries: Most programmable thermostats run on batteries to stop the settings from being deleted after 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 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 tell you about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits such as 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.