We love programmable thermostats, they can save homeowners a lot of money! According to the Energy Star website, you can save about $180* every year in energy costs just by using your programmable thermostat properly.
The team at Home Comfort Experts wants to help you maximize your savings, so we put together this list of our best practices for using a programmable thermostat as well as a list of mistakes to avoid.
Insider Tips for Using Programmable Thermostats
1. Leave at a “Savings Temperature” for Eight Hours
To save the most energy, we recommend that homeowners keep the thermostat set at the savings temperature for long periods of time (at least eight hours). These times include during the day, when no one is at home, and all night long while residents are sleeping. Consider programming it to change a half hour or so before people return to the home or everyone gets up in the mornings so the house is comfortable again.
2. Use the Override for Occasional Changes
Programmable thermostats let you make an area warmer or cooler temporarily without erasing the pre-set program. As soon as the next setting is programmed to start, it cancels your override and goes back to the original scheduled settings. Obviously, you don’t want to use the override feature very often if you’re trying to save money, but it’s very handy for a temporary change.
3. Use the Hold/Permanent/Vacation Feature when Gone for Extended Periods
Programmable thermostats usually have two types of hold features: The temporary override from #2 above and a permanent or vacation hold. If you’re planning to be away for an extended number of days, set this feature at a constant, efficient temperature (i.e. several degrees warmer temperature in summer, several degrees cooler during winter). This will save you money versus leaving your thermostat set to regular daily mode.
4. Don’t Set the Temperature Extremely High or Low
Unless your thermostat is a smart thermostat, this won’t get your home to the desired temperature any faster than setting it for the desired temperature. Most thermostats begin to heat or cool at a set time, with the set temperature reached sometime later. Smart thermostats (with adaptive recovery features) constantly calculate the amount of time required to heat or cool the house, so that it reaches that temperature by the time the homeowner programmed it to reach it.
Related Read: 7 Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing Myths – Busted
5. Multiple Zones Require Setback Thermostats
Many homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has more than one zone, you’ll need a programmed setback thermostat for each zone for maximum comfort, convenience and energy savings.
6. Don’t Forget the Batteries
If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don’t forget to change them every year.
* The $180 savings assumes a typical, single-family home with a 10 hour daytime setback of 8° F in winter and setup of 7° F in summer, and an 8 hour nighttime setback of 8° F in winter and a setup of 4° F in summer.