Do you have a programmable thermostat? If you do and you program it correctly you can save at least 10% on heating and cooling costs each year. You can do this by setting your thermostat 7-10 degrees lower for at least 8 hours a day.
According to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, almost 90% of home owners say that have never or rarely programmed their thermostat. They aren’t sure how.
Type of Programmable Thermostats
There are four distinctive types of programmable thermostats:
1 Week Programmable: You can set one heating/cooling plan that is repeated daily for the entire week.
5-1-1 Programmable: You can set one heating/cooling schedule for the week, plus you can schedule a different heating/cooling plan for Saturday and Sunday.
5-2 Programmable: Same as the 5-1-1 programmable, but Saturday and Sunday will have the same heating/cooling plan.
7 Day Programmable: This one is the most flexible thermostat. It allows a different heating/cooling schedule for each day of the week.
Most units have two type of hold features. One is ‘hold/permanent/vacation’ and the other is ‘temporary.’ Avoid using the hold feature for day to day management. The hold feature is best used for extended periods such as vacations.
Programming for Seasons
You will be setting a different program for the warmer months and the cooler month. The Department of Energy recommends some general settings for energy-saving. For the warmer months of summer they recommend setting your air conditioning to 78 degrees while you are home. For days that you don’t need cooling they recommend manually shutting off the AC. When you aren’t going to be home you can set it to be warmer. You can tweak your temperature to what works for you.
For the cooler months of winter they recommend programming the temperature to 68 degrees when you’re home. When you are going to be out of the home or when you’re asleep they recommend setting it for 10 degrees lower. A furnace doesn’t have to work harder to warm a home when the temperature has been set to a lower temperature during the day.
Some general programming tips include shutting down the heat or air conditioning 20-30 minutes prior to leaving. Set your thermostat to turn back on 20-30 minutes before you will be getting home each day. Lower the heating or cooling 60 minutes before you go to sleep and then set it to increase to the original temperature 30 minutes before you wake up.
You can also use the Energy Star programmable thermostat tool. It can help you understand which settings you need even if it doesn’t look exactly like your thermostat.
Thinking of Converting?
If you don’t currently have a programmable thermostat and are thinking about converting to you, make sure to check for compatibility with your current equipment. Make sure to check your thermostat to find out if it has mercury with the manufacturer. Models made prior to 2001 may contain mercury. If your thermostat is one that contains mercury there are different requirements. It is considered a hazardous waste. If you are in Benton County you can visit their website to find out when they are having the next hazardous waste event. As of 2/15/2018 they have two scheduled for April 7th and April 14th. The location is yet to be determined so you will have to check back to their website. Franklin County has several locations. You can contact them at 509-545-3514 to find the best location. Their website regarding hazardous waste can be found here.
If you want even more control you can purchase a wifi enabled thermostat which can create a custom schedule for you based on it’s motion detection technology. It can also be controlled remotely from your phone.
And finally, if your thermostat is run on batteries, be sure to change them annually.
As always, thanks for reading and we welcome any additional information or comments you may have.