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

Posted by Scott Mise | 08.04.2015

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Studies show that you can increase savings on cooling and heating costs by correctly utilizing a programmable thermostat. Studies also show that many homeowners don’t use them properly. In one survey, half of installed programmable thermostats were operating in “hold” mode and weren’t programmed for automatic operation.

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

How to Use Programmable Thermostats Efficiently

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

  • Maintain the programmed energy-conserving settings for long time periods. Optimal savings are realized when settings remain the same for a minimum of 8 hours. For example, maintain a consistent temperature for the overnight time while occupants are sleeping and another temperature for longer periods during the day when the house is unoccupied.
  • During summer, set the daily occupied temperature at 78 degrees. For every degree above this temperature, you can save about 1 percent on your cooling costs. For the unoccupied hours, program a temperature about 88 degrees. Set the system to return to a comfortable temperature an hour before you return home and you’ll come back to a cool house.
  • Don’t erase programmed settings to temporarily leave the programmed temperature. All programmable models have an “override” option that allow you to temporarily leave the active program and move temperatures up or down. When the next scheduled program begins, the unit automatically goes back to full programmed operation.
  • Resist the temptation to override programmed settings and boost the thermostat down or up for extreme temperature changes. Acute temperature settings won’t cool the house faster or heat it faster. The A/C or furnace will still work at the same rate. Manually overriding, however, does increase the chances that you’ll overshoot your target temperature, consuming more energy than necessary.

For more information about installing and using a programmable thermostat in your Austin home, contact the home comfort pros at Airco.