Choosing a Programmable Thermostat

“The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills – nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.”

It seems we never really think of the consequences of tampering with our thermostats until the energy bill arrives. With energy costs soaring, installing and using a programmable thermostat is a wise move both financially and environmentally.

The thermostat inside your home is responsible for keeping you comfortable. It works by detecting the temperature of the surrounding area to control the air conditioning unit and furnace. Many times, we prefer different temperatures for different activities inside the home. A programmable thermostat reduces the demand placed on your heating and cooling units by allowing the temperature settings to rise or lower depending on the heating or cooling needs of the season and requirements of the zone being controlled. People who are regularly away from home during set times throughout the week are ideal candidates for using a programmable thermostat.

Choosing a Programmable Thermostat

When you decide to buy a programmable thermostat, you need to consider your schedule. Programmable thermostats come in three different models: 7-day, 5+2 day, and 5-1-1 models.

7-Day Model

This model is perfect for persons with an irregular schedule. With a seven-day setting, you can customize your comfort settings for each day of the week. For example, if you have a fluctuating work schedule and the time you leave and return home from work on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday is different from Friday & Saturday, you can create separate temperature schedules for each of those days – as well as your days off.

5+2 Model

For those with a fairly regular schedule, a 5+2 model works great. You can program your thermostat for Monday through Friday and keep a separate setting for Saturday and Sunday.

5-1-1 Model

This model is similar to the 5+2 model, only instead of the same setting for your weekends, you can program Saturday and Sunday separately.

Regardless of the model you choose, the following temperature adjustments are recommended for you to benefit from reduced energy consumption and cost:

During the Heating Season

Decrease your set point by 8 degrees during periods of inactivity or absence.

During the Cooling Season

Increase your set point by 7 degrees during periods of absence, and 4 degrees during inactivity.

To get the most from your programmable thermostat, consult with your HVAC company on how to optimize efficiency during your next maintenance visit.

Other Considerations

  • To get the most from your programmable thermostat, it’s best to locate it away from any device that can be considered exceptionally warm or cool such as appliances, vents, registers, or windows. Doing so can throw off the accuracy of the device. It’s best to install your thermostat on an inside wall, preferably in a hallway for a single-zone system, and near living rooms and bedrooms in multi-zoned homes.
  • If you have a large home with multiple heating or cooling zones, you should have a thermostat for each zone to maximize on savings and comfort.
  • Most thermostats are battery operated. It is a good idea to change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Remember that although the programmable thermostat are a great way to help you save energy and cut costs, looking at other areas of your heating and cooling system should be done, too.
  • If you are uncertain of the best type of programmable thermostat, or how to install it, it is best to contact a professional.

For more tips, how-tos and other great information on your home air conditioning, heating, air quality and more visit the Service Champions Blog.