How To Save Money By Installing a Programmable Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills. By programming your thermostat to match your schedule, you can reduce your heating and cooling usage and see significant savings over time. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how installing a programmable thermostat can help you save money:
What Is a Programmable Thermostat?
A programmable thermostat is a type of thermostat that allows you to set different temperatures at different times. For example, you can program it to set your home temperature lower when you are away at work or asleep at night.
Unlike a manual thermostat that maintains a consistent temperature, a programmable thermostat allows you to customize heating and cooling based on your routine. You simply input a schedule of temperatures and times, and the thermostat will automatically adjust to meet those settings.
The most common programmable thermostats available today are digital and easy to program. Most models allow you to set at least 4 time and temperature settings per day. More advanced models can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app.
How Does a Programmable Thermostat Save Money?
Programmable thermostats save money by optimizing heating and cooling to match when you actually need it.
For example, there is no need to keep your home cooler during the day when you are at work. By setting your thermostat to a higher temperature like 78°F while you are away, you avoid unnecessarily running your air conditioner as much.
At night, you can program the thermostat to lower the temperature to 72°F to keep you comfortable while sleeping. This small adjustment to match your occupancy schedule can reduce your cooling costs by up to 10% a year.
In winter, programming a lower temperature like 65°F during the day can reduce your furnace runtime and lower your heating bills as well. Overall, a programmable thermostat can save the average household $100-$150 per year in energy costs.
Choosing the Right Programmable Thermostat
When selecting a programmable thermostat, here are key features to look for:
Display: Choose a model with a clear digital display that is easy to program. Backlit displays are helpful if programming at night.
Scheduling: Most models allow 4 time periods per day. You may want more flexibility with additional scheduling options.
Fan control: Some models have an auto setting that only runs the fan when heating or cooling is on.
Additional features: Options like vacations settings, reminders, and app control can further optimize savings.
Compatibility: Ensure the thermostat is compatible with your heating and cooling system. Most work with conventional systems.
Budget: Basic programmable thermostats start around $40, while smart thermostats with WiFi and apps cost $200-$300.
Installing a Programmable Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat is a straightforward DIY project for most homeowners. Follow these steps:
What You Need
- Programmable thermostat
- Wire strippers/cutters
- Tape (optional)
- Turn off power to your heating/cooling system at the breaker box.
- Remove your old thermostat cover plate and thermostat. Take a photo of the wire connections for reference later.
- Loosen the screw terminals and remove the wires one at a time. Wrap the exposed wire ends with electrical tape to prevent shorts.
- Mount the new thermostat base plate on the wall. Thread the control wires through the central opening.
- Connect the control wires to the matching screw terminals following the thermostat wiring diagram. Consult your specific model’s instructions.
- Push any excess wire back into the wall opening. Seal any openings with insulation to prevent drafts.
- Attach the thermostat control unit onto the base plate.
- Turn power back on at the breaker box. The thermostat screen should light up.
- Follow the instructions to program your temperature schedule.
- Test heating and cooling modes to ensure the thermostat is controlling your system properly.
And you’re done! Enjoy your new programmable thermostat and the energy savings ahead. Be sure to change the schedule seasonally to maximize savings year-round.
Tips for Maximizing Savings
Here are some extra tips to help you maximize energy savings with your programmable thermostat:
Program lower heat temperatures at night and when away to save on heating costs. 62°F is a good night setting.
Set cooling to 78°F or higher when not home on hot days. Every degree higher saves up to 5% on cooling bills.
Consider a smart thermostat if you frequently change your schedule. The app control makes temperature adjustments a breeze.
Change filter and batteries per the manufacturer’s schedule to keep your system running efficiently.
Adjust vents to prevent rooms from getting too hot or cold. Close vents in unused rooms.
Use a programmable or smart thermostat on your water heater too for additional savings.
Investing in a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to automate home energy savings. The typical payback period is less than a year through reduced utility bills. Programming your thermostat to match your schedule can trim heating and cooling costs by 10-30%. Just be sure to choose a user-friendly model and take the time to program optimal temperature settings. Enjoy the extra money in your wallet each month!