Choosing and Programming Your Thermostat

You can save hundreds of dollars annually by choosing the right thermostat and programming it properly. That’s a lot of savings for very little work. In addition to saving money, you’ll also save energy, which is great for our planet.

Programmable thermostats automatically warm or cool the house to the proper comfort level, depending upon whether you’re home or at work, awake or asleep. For most people, this means using less heating or cooling when they are out of the home and a lower temperature when they are asleep than when they are at home but awake.

Pick the Right Thermostat for Your Needs 

There are four major types of programmable thermostats. From least to most sophisticated, they are: 1 week programming, 5-2 programming, 5-1-1 programming, and 7 day programming.

1-Week Programming

This type of thermostat has the same programming for every day of the week. It’s the easiest to program, but it offers the least automatic energy savings, because it doesn’t account for different schedules on different days of the week. As with all programmable thermostats, however, you can override the programming at any time to adjust the temperature to your needs. 

5-2 Programming

This system has two different programs: one for the five-day workweek, and one for the two-day weekend. If you have a standard workweek and your Saturday and Sunday activities are similar, this will work well for you.

5-1-1 Programming

This system has three different programs: one for the five-day workweek; and a separate one for each of the two weekend days. 

7-Day Programming

This type of programming allows you to set a different temperature pattern for every day of the week. For many families who have different schedules every day, this type of thermostat offers the most convenience and energy savings, although it does require a little more time to program.

Thermostat Tips to Save Money

Each of the four types of programmable thermostats offer at least four set-times during the day: wake time, sleep time, leave time, and return time.

Related read: 3 tips to maximize your programmable thermostat savings

If you follow these tips, you can save an average of 15% off your yearly energy costs:

  • Reduce the cooling or heating 20-30 minutes before you leave the house for the day. If you’re not there, there’s no sense paying to keep it comfortable.
  • Increase the cooling or heating 20-30 minutes before you arrive back home. That’s enough time to bring the home back to a comfortable temperature before you arrive.
  • In the winter, lower the heating by 7 to 8 degrees when you’re asleep or not at home. Most people sleep better in a cooler room, and you’ll be covered with blankets in any case.
  • In the summer, reduce the air conditioning (i.e., raise the temperature) by 2 to 3 degrees when you’re not at home.

As a general rule of thumb, to maximize efficiency you can turn your furnace temperature down or your air conditioner up one degree for every hour you are asleep or away, with the minimum being two hours or degrees and the maximum being eight hours or degrees. Less than two hours and it won’t save energy and more than eight and you will waste efficiency when the system has to work too hard to get back to a comfortable temperature.

Related read: Tips on how to get the most out of your thermostat

Home Comfort Experts provides heating and air conditioning installation, service and maintenance in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. Call us at 574-255-4600 to learn more about programmable thermostats, including units you can control from anywhere with your smart phone.

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