What Are the Average Savings After Installing a Programmable Thermostat?

You have most likely heard that having a programmable thermostat can lower your heating and cooling costs. While this is certainly true, you don’t instantly save just by exchanging your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. To maximize your savings, you must select, set up and use a programmable thermostat properly.

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 each 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 bill.

How to Secure a Programmable Thermostat

As you compare thermostats, verify the compatibility with the rest of your HVAC system. As an example, radiant floor heating might necessitate a different type of thermostat than one created for forced-air heating and cooling.

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

  • 7-day programming allows a different schedule on a daily basis. This is ideal if your family’s schedule varies daily.
  • 5-1-1 programming generates a weekday schedule and separate Saturday/Sunday schedules. This is best if your routine is 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 follows one schedule for the whole week.

How to Set Up a Programmable Thermostat

The capability to program setback periods while you're out of the house or sleeping makes it simpler to save energy with a programmable thermostat. Create the settings you want at the beginning of the season. While you can choose the times and temperatures that are best for your family’s needs, here’s how the average weekday schedule might look:

  • Wake at 7:00 am: The thermostat reaches a comfortable temperature in time for you to get out of bed. 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 heading into 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 function resumes a comfortable temperature before you return home. This setting should be about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in 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 during the summer.

Getting Maximum Savings from a Programmable Thermostat

The best part about a programmable thermostat is that you can save energy without losing comfort. Follow these tips to get the most from your upgrade:

  • Avoid overriding programmed settings: You can always override the set temperature if you are uncomfortable. That said, your energy usage will go up if you consistently change the settings. Add 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 can create temporary overrides without deleting the active setting. This is known as the “temporary hold,” which only lasts until the next programmed time. The "permanent/vacation hold” is for when you leave town. This overrides the settings indefinitely. The thermostat won’t return 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 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, like the new year or when the kids go back to school in the fall.

Start Saving by Installing a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re ready to set it and forget it, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help choosing and installing a programmable thermostat. We can also provide details about Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, which offer even more benefits thanks to remote temperature control, learning capabilities, motion sensors, auto-generated energy reports and more. For more details or to request a free thermostat assessment, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.