Programmable Thermostats Save Energy

March 18, 2021
By: Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical
Posted In: Energy Saving Tips

Programmable thermostats are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your annual energy costs. Use your HVAC to its fullest potential and use this brief guide to get started on choosing and installing a programmable thermostat for your Austin home:

According to The Department of Energy, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.” 

Choosing a Model

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program. There are three primary types of programmable thermostats:  7-day, 5+2 day, and 5-1-1 models.  As the names suggest, each type allows you to set different schedules throughout the week. Almost every model comes with four pre-programmed settings, and many offer additional features such as a backlit display, air filter reminder, malfunction indicator, and more. On average, proper use of a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 a year.

Setting Your Schedule

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. To save energy in the winter, program the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and set it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away. Then, program the thermostat to begin cooling before you get home. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall heating and cooling bills will be.

Overriding the Schedule

Most units allow users to override the schedule and “hold” the temperature at another setting. There are generally two types of temporary override “hold” settings. Temporary “holds” end when the next setting cycle begins. Permanent/Vacation “hold” settings maintain the temperature indefinitely until the user removes the “hold” setting. While the Permanent/Vacation “hold” can provide better energy savings over a long period of absence, it is best to avoid overusing “holds”. You will get the best results using a programmable thermostat by adhering to your preset schedule and get the greatest energy-savings.