How to Set a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is also sometimes called a setback or clock thermostat. Just from these descriptive names, you can probably tell what they do. Just in case, though, we’ll explain! A programmable thermostat is one that allows you to adjust the temperature throughout the day, even if you are not at home. This is helpful for people who work outside of the home, since no one is there during the day to enjoy the consistently cool air, and businesses can also utilize this technology as well by lowering the thermostat at night when no one is there.
It’s also nice to have a programmable thermostat during seasonal changes. In the spring and fall, for many parts of the country, it’s not uncommon to see a temperature change of 30 degrees from dawn to the afternoon. A programmable thermostat makes it possible for you, your family, your customers, and your employees to be comfortable all day, every season.
Using a programmable thermostat is a sure way to save on energy costs and keep your home or business comfortable at all times, too. Studies show that a programmable thermostat used correctly can save you up to 15% annually on heating and cooling costs.
When you purchase a programmable thermostat, you’ll have a big decision to make right off the bat. There are several types, and they vary mainly by how adjustable they are. For example, a 1-week thermostat allows you to set one schedule for every day of a single week, including weekends. This is the most affordable type but the least customizable. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the 7-day programmable thermostat which can be adjusted to suit your schedule for 7 individual days. And there are options somewhere in between as well.
As you start to set your programmable thermostat, you’ll have to consider four times: wake time, sleep time, leave time and return time. This will tell the system when to turn on to prepare for your arrival, and when it can take a break.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you set the AC to 78 degrees when you’re going to be home, and have it turn off completely when you aren’t going to be there. This will be an adjustment for most people, because we are accustomed to much cooler indoor temperatures, but 78 is plenty cool enough when the temperatures outside soar into the 90s or even triple digits.
If you have a complete HVAC system attached to your programmable thermostat, the Department of Energy also recommends setting the heat to 68 in the winter and programming the thermostat so that the heat drops 10 to 15 degrees at night and when you are not home.
Following these recommendations will save you at least 15% on your energy bills.
Here are a few more helpful tips when programming your thermostat:
- Turn the heat or air conditioning off about 30 minutes before you leave home. That half hour will save you a few dollars, and you probably won’t notice the temperature changing in that short amount of time anyway.
- Turn it back on about 30 minutes before you return home. That’s just enough time to knock the chill off of a cold day or get the AC just right on a hot one. There’s no sense in wasting heat or air when no one will be home to enjoy it.
- Turn the thermostat down an hour before bed. Whether it’s heat or air conditioning, you can probably deal with a 10-degree difference while you sleep. For the average family, sleep time is 8 to 10 hours. That can make a big difference!
- Set the programmable thermostat to turn the heat or air conditioning back up about 30 minutes before you wake up on days that you will be home.
- Don’t just set the programmable thermostat once and never think about it again. Give it some time, and keep adjusting it so that it’s both comfortable and energy efficient.
- Invest in a Wi-Fi-enabled programmable thermostat so you can control the temperature in your home from anywhere. If you forget to set it differently if you are going on a trip or if you will be gone from home much longer than you thought, you won’t be wasting any cooled or heated air.
These suggestions should be taken at face value. You’ll have to find exactly the right combination for your home or business. The most important thing is don’t give up when you are learning how to set your programmable thermostat!