Using Your Programmable Thermostat the Right Way Can REALLY Save Money

Many people might argue that the programmable thermostat isn’t worth your time and investment, but it’s often due to the fact that they aren’t effectively using it. At first glance, it might seem complicated to find harmony between comfort and savings, but here we have compiled a list of easy tips and tricks to optimize your programmable thermostat while being cozy in your home, saving you up to 10% on your bill every year.

There are four distinct types of thermostats, each with its own unique programming.

1-week programming.This typically low-cost thermostat allows you to set one heating/cooling plan to be used every day for one week.

5-2 programming.This allows for two heating/cooling plans: one for Monday-Friday, and one for Saturday-Sunday.

5-1-1 programming.This thermostat gives a little more flexibility. You’ll be allowed a heating/cooling plan for Monday-Friday, one for Saturday, and one for Sunday.

7-day programming. This type of thermostat is best for individuals or families with irregular schedules as it will allow a different heating/cooling plan for every day of the week.

nest-des-moinesSelf-Learning programming. The Nest Thermostat is the latest, self-learning automated thermostat that you can control with an app on your smartphone. Without having to manually program a heating/cooling plan, the Nest thermostat will learn your heating and cooling preferences over time saving you money in the long-run.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as simple as turning the heat or air on and off. It takes a lot of energy to bring your home back to your comfort temperature once there has been a huge spike in temperature change– which could actually end up costing you more!

But adjusting the temperature by a few degrees can make a huge difference in your monthly utility bill.

During hotter seasons:

  • Keep air conditioning to a steady 75-76 degrees throughout your home
  • Schedule the AC to turn up around 5 to 7 degrees(up to 80 or 82 degrees) while you and your family are out of the house (i.e. during work and school hours)
  • Program the AC to turn back down 30 minutes before you return home (back to 76 degrees), to cool your home in time for your long day wind down.
  • Depending on your desired comfort levels at night, schedule the AC to turn up 30 minutes after you go to sleep
  • You can then, schedule the AC to turn back down 60 minutes before you wake up each morning

NOTE: It is important to remember that the recovery time on your A/C unit is a lot slower than that of your furnace, so while these are recommended temperatures, it is going to depend on your desired comfort levels and it will vary house to house.

During winter seasons:

  • Keep your heat at a steady 71-72 degrees throughout your home
  • Program the heat to down by 5 to 10 degrees while you are out of the house.
  • Turn the heat back up to 70-72 degrees 45 minutes before you return home

Much like the A/C, this is a just a simple backbone to figuring out what works best for you. Play around with your thermostat for a few days by adjusting temperatures and times to see what is most comfortable and suitable for your lifestyle.

The US Department of energy has tons of ways to save money on your energy bill, but using your programmable thermostat efficiently is a hefty first step to a more energy-friendly, big-savings home.