A programmable thermostat can help maintain the comfort of your home when you’re there and possibly reduce energy costs when you’re not – thanks to a pre-set schedule for when your heating or air-conditioning unit turns on. To maximize savings, here are three simple steps:
1. Choose the right model
To decide which programmable thermostat is best for you, think about how often you are away from home for regular periods of time. According to http://www.energystar.gov/, here are some guidelines:
The week (7-day) models are best if your daily schedule is unpredictable and changes from day to day. They offer the most flexibility, allowing you to set different programs for different days.
Weekday/weekend (5+2-day) models and 5-1-1 models are best if you tend to keep one schedule Monday through Friday and other schedules on Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Install the thermostat properly
Read the instructions carefully and always put safety first! Always turn power off at your breaker box when making any electrical repair or replacing a thermostat. If the job seems too complicated, contact a licensed HVAC contractor.
Also, if you have a heat pump system, check the manufacturer’s specifications carefully. Most manufacturers offer programmable thermostats specifically designed for their units. Installing a thermostat not designed for a heat pump can actually increase the cost of operating your heat pump!
3. Set the thermostat correctly
To maximize savings, keep the temperature set at its programmed settings for at least eight hours (when you’re at work, when you’re sleeping at night, etc.). You can always bump the thermostat up or down and override the settings. However, override with caution. You use more energy and have higher bills if you consistently override the pre-programmed settings.