Almost half of your energy bill is devoted to the costs of heating and cooling your home. When average energy bills are $2,060 a year, that’s over $1,000. Any changes you can make to lower those bills are certainly worth looking into. One of the best ways to save money on your energy bills is to install a programmable thermostat.
In North Carolina, the temperature fluctuates dramatically. Wintertime highs and lows range from 60° or 70° to 20° in just a few days! That makes a programmable thermostat a great investment. Not only is it convenient, but it can pay for itself (with interest!) within one year of installation. Here’s how to make the most out of your programmable thermostat.
Buy the Best Type For You
There are three common programmable thermostat models, although most newer programmable thermostats offer full customization down to the minute. You can also buy a smart programmable thermostat that syncs with an app on your phone, so you can make changes when you’re away from home.
These thermostats allow you to create a setting for weekdays (5), and a separate setting for weekends (2). For most people with a regular full-time job, this is a good choice.
A 5-1-1 thermostat offers settings for weekdays (5), Saturdays (1), and Sundays (1). If you have regular plans during the weekend, such as church on Sunday or a Saturday afternoon tee time, these are a great option.
These programmable thermostats offer the most control and flexibility, enabling you to create different schedules for every day of the week. If your schedule is unpredictable or changes often, these will give you the most granular control.
Location, Location, Location!
Where you install your thermostat can significantly impact how well it works. Avoid exterior walls, doorways, vents, and windows. You want your thermostat to take an accurate reading of your home. Sunlight from a window, air from a vent, or breezes from the doorway can alter your readings. The thermostat will then turn your system on or off at unnecessary times. Look for an interior wall that doesn’t get much natural light.
Optimize Your Programmable Thermostat Settings
What should you set your thermostat temperature to? There are two goals to keep in mind when you’re setting up your programmable thermostat.
- Limit the number of times your unit needs to come on in a given day.
- Don’t waste energy making your home comfortable when you’re asleep or out of your home.
You should have four primary settings for regular use.
- Winter Daytime. In the winter, set your thermostat to 68° if you can. Try not to go above 72°.
- Winter Nighttime. At night, lower the temperature settings to about 60°. If you’re too cold, grab a blanket.
- Summer Daytime. In the summertime, opt for a thermostat setting of about 78°. Wear lighter clothing or use a fan if you’re feeling sweaty.
- Summer Nighttime. You can bump it all the way up to about 82°, if you’re comfortable.
Set your programmable thermostat to its daytime setting a half an hour before you wake up. If you’re out of the home on weekdays, you can use your nighttime settings for the hours you’re gone. Warm or cool the home to daytime temperature about a half an hour before you return, so you’re comfortable when you arrive.
Stick to Your Settings
When you’re chilly or hot, it’s tempting to press that little “hold” button. But once you set up your programmable thermostat, the best thing you can do is to leave it alone. The “hold” button is used to override the programmable thermostat. If, for example, you’re home sick one day, you might change the temperature to something more comfortable and hit the “hold” button. That will set your system at that temperature until its next programmed change.
Even though it’s enticing, restrain yourself. Instead, use coats and blankets or fans and open windows to make yourself more comfortable. When you use the hold button, your system needs more energy to get back to the next set point. This costs money, and can even cancel out the savings you’ve seen after purchasing a programmable thermostat. Give it a week and if you find yourself feeling too hot or cold on a regular basis, change the programmed settings.
If you’re going away for the weekend or on a vacation, use a manual override of vacation settings to keep your system from running its regular schedule.
Change the Batteries Annually
One of the most common issues we see are HVAC systems that don’t work because the thermostat batteries need to be changed. While this may seem obvious, if you don’t change your batteries before they die, at some point your system will stop working. By the time you realize this has happened, it may take a lot of energy to get your home back to the right temperature. Pick a holiday – Christmas, your birthday, or any other day – and set a calendar reminder to change your thermostat batteries. You may be replacing batteries with some juice left in them, but it’s better than paying more on your energy bill if the batteries go dead on their own.
If you would like to learn more about programmable thermostats for your home, contact Newcomb and Company today. We’re always excited to help homeowners take control of their home energy usage – and lower their bills!