Get the most out of your programmable thermostat

Tips to Get the Most Energy Savings Out of Your Programmable Thermostat

Studies show that you can reap meaningful savings on cooling and heating costs by properly utilizing a programmable thermostat. Studies also show that many homeowners don’t. In one survey, half of all installed programmable thermostats were operating in the “hold” mode and were never even programmed for automatic operation.

A programmable thermostat empowers you to automate temperatures to fit your daily household schedule of activity and occupancy. This maintains consistency in both indoor comfort and cost-efficient operation, eliminating adjustments that cycle HVAC equipment on and off erratically, wasting energy and causing temperature swings.

How to Use Programmable Thermostats Efficiently

To get the benefits and potential savings of a programmable thermostat, follow a few tips for proper operation this summer.

  • Maintain the programmed energy-conserving settings for long spans of time. Optimal savings are realized when settings remain the same for at least 8 hours. For example, maintain a consistent temperature for the overnight span while occupants are sleeping and another temperature for long periods during the day when the house is unoccupied.
  • During summer, set the daily occupied temperature at 78 degrees. For every degree above that temperature, you can save about 1 percent on cooling costs. For the unoccupied hours, program a temperature around 88 degrees. Set the system to return to a comfortable temperature an hour before you normally return home and you’ll come back to a cool house.
  • Don’t erase programmed settings to temporarily depart from the programmed temperature. All programmable models have an “override” option that allow you to temporarily deviate from the active program and move temperatures up or down. When the next scheduled program begins, the unit automatically reverts to full programmed operation.
  • Resist the temptation to override programmed settings and crank the thermostat down or up for extreme temperature changes. Acute temperature settings won’t cool the house faster nor heat it more rapidly. The A/C or furnace still works at the same rate. Manually overriding, however, does increase the probability that you’ll overshoot your target temperature, consuming more energy than necessary.
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