Did you know that almost half of your energy usage comes from heating and cooling? That’s about $1,100 a year for a typical American home.

You can cut a chunk off that figure in a few different ways, but one of the easiest ways to do it is by installing a programmable thermostat.

Some of us hear the word “programmable” and translate that as “more work.” But I assure you, it’s a snap once you get the hang of it.

And once you do get the hang of it, you can save up to $180 a year on your energy bill, so it’s worth your time.

Read on as we explain more about why you’d want a programmable thermostats, how to set the schedule, and the different types of programmable thermostats.

Why should I get a programmable thermostat?

So, you might be thinking, “I’ve already got a thermostat. Why should I get a programmable one?”

Essentially, the programmable thermostat works your heating and cooling system smarter not harder, which saves you energy and money as a result.

The programmable thermostat does this by telling your HVAC system to heat and cool your home based on your schedule (the one you put into it).

Think about it like this: It does not make sense to heat or cool your home to the same temperatures when you’re not home, does it? Or how about when you’re asleep? The programmable thermostat will adjust to your life and do all the work and thinking for you.

Setting the schedule

To maximize your savings, you need to make a schedule that works for you. Luckily for you, most programmable thermostats come with pre-programmed settings that most people might use. (Maybe wake up around 7am, leave close to 8am, get home around 5pm, and sleep around 10pm.) There are also settings for seasons as well.

But if you’re a night owl and a late sleeper, you can set it to adjust to your schedule as well. It’s like working with an alarm clock, so it’s not tough.

Once you’ve got your schedule going (way to go!) you get to set your setbacks and setups.
Let’s define these real quick:

  • Setbacks: the number of degrees your programmable thermostat drops at certain times of the day to save energy, (used during the winter)
  • Setups: Opposite of setbacks, or the number of degrees your programmable thermostat rises in the day to save energy. (used during the summer)

There’s no hard and fast rule for how to set these. Play around with how the temperature should rise and fall when you’re there until you’re comfortable. Here are some rules of thumb by Energy Star for how to set your programmable thermostat for maximum savings.

Choosing between programmable thermostat types

There are a variety of programmable thermostats with features like touch display or voice activation. But for now, you need to know the difference between a 5+2-day, 5-1-1-day and 7-day models.

  • 5+2 day: Lets you set one schedule for the weekdays and a separate schedule for the weekend.
  • 5-1-1 day: Slightly more flexible than 5+2. You can set three schedules, one for the weekdays, one for Saturday, and another for Sunday.
  • 7-day: Most flexible model. Lets you set a schedule for every day of the week (for those of you who have atypical work weeks).

Bonus: Controlling it from anywhere

Probably the coolest function of some programmable thermostats is how you can control them from your computer, smartphone or tablet with an app.

We sell a variety of Honeywell and Carrier products that have this remote access ability. Honeywell even provides a simple step-by-step video for how to setup the wireless connection to your programmable thermostat.

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