If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you’re probably going to want one after you read this article. Did you know that according to the Energy Star website, you can save about $180* every year in energy costs just by using your programmable thermostat properly?
So what is the proper way to use your programmable thermostat? The team at Jeremy Electrical, Heating & Cooling put together this list of best practices as well as mistakes to avoid.
For the Most Savings, Leave Your AC Set Higher for Eight Hours
Same goes for your furnace; leave it set lower for eight hours. To save the most energy, it’s best to leave your thermostat set at the savings temperature for at least eight hours. The best times are during the day, when no one is at home, and during the night while occupants are asleep.
TIP: Program it to change a half hour or so before anyone returns to the home or before your family gets out of their snug little beds so the house is comfortable again.
Don’t Set the Temperature Extremely High or Low
Programmable thermostats are pretty smart pieces of equipment, but remember, they are simply a way to talk to your furnace and air conditioner. They don’t change the way the furnace and AC function. Setting the thermostat to a higher or lower temperature in an attempt to reach the desired temperature quicker simply won’t work.
Your AC or furnace is only capable of running or not running. It can’t be expected to cool or heat faster. It will take the same amount of time to reach the desired temperature regardless, and you may forget to reset it and end up being uncomfortable or wasting energy and money. Think of it like pressing the elevator button repeatedly. It may make you feel better, but it won’t get the elevator there any faster.
Related Read: 5 Heating & Cooling Myths You’re Falling For
You’ll Love the Override for Quick Occasional Changes
So you took the day off and will be home, but the house will be too hot with the way the program is set to run. No problem! 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. This feature makes it very convenient for even those with a flexible schedule to stay comfortable (which is the whole point of a programmable thermostat).
Use the Hold/Permanent Feature when Gone for Vacation
If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time, the hold/permanent feature is ideal. Set this feature at a constant, efficient temperature (several degrees warmer in summer, several degrees cooler during winter). This will save you money versus leaving your thermostat set to regular daily mode.
Don’t Forget to Check the Batteries
If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don’t forget to change them every year. Sometimes we get service calls that end up just being a dead battery. Always check it before you call for help.
* 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.