If you are looking to cut down on energy costs in your home, a programmable thermostat is one of the most convenient solutions to consider. As the name suggests, these units can be programmed so that they trigger heating and cooling on a set schedule. Most of these units allow you to set multiple schedules, so you can have one that controls your HVAC system during the work week and one that controls the system over the weekend.
By ensuring that your heating and cooling systems only operate when needed, programmable thermostats cut down on energy use, which translates to savings on your utility bills. The amount of money you’ll save will depend on several factors. However, you will definitely save money after switching out your traditional thermostat with a programmable one. These units also offer other benefits that you appreciate. The following covers all of these benefits and provides other tips for cutting down on utility costs in your Palm Springs, CA home.
How Much Energy Can a Programmable Thermostat Save?
So, just how much money can you expect to save by using a programmable thermostat? Let’s start by examining the energy use of your HVAC system. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American home spends nearly $2,000 a year on heating and cooling, which accounts for approximately 40% of all residential energy costs.
When used properly, programmable thermostats can cut heating and cooling expenditures by anywhere from 10% to 30%. That means that most homeowners can expect to save an average of $200 to $600 a year. Considering that the average programmable thermostat costs between $100 and $200, you will quickly see a return on your investment.
Is a Programmable Thermostat the Same as a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is a type of programmable thermostat, but these units take things to a new level. Typically, a standard programmable thermostat has a digital interface that enables you to set the temperature of your home for specific days of the week and/or times of the day. This means that you can have a pre-determined schedule based on when you will be home.
Smart thermostats offer this same function, but they also come with features that allow them to track patterns and behaviors to begin making changes on their own. These units are also connected to your home’s Wi-Fi, so you can change settings remotely from your phone or tablet using an app and internet connection. Many smart thermostats also track your home energy use and provide data that you can use to monitor the effectiveness of your heating and air system.
Whether you choose a standard digital programmable thermostat or a smart thermostat, the energy savings will typically be the same, as long as you appropriately use the programs to your advantage. A team member from Home Team Electric can help you explore your options for thermostats and find one that fits your needs and budget.
Tips for Programming Your Thermostat
As you know, a programmable thermostat is a great investment that will cut your energy use and costs. To get the most out of these units, however, you need to know how to program them. First, you need to check the settings on your thermostat. In general, these units offer daily, weekly, and weekday/weekend scheduling options. With a daily (or seven-day) schedule, you can schedule a different program for each day of the week. A weekly schedule uses the same heating and cooling program for the entire week.
A programmable thermostat with a weekday/weekend program will allow you to set a separate program for the weekdays and the weekends. Some have a 5/2-day setting, which means that there is one program for Monday through Friday and another single program for Saturday and Sunday. Others have a 5/1/1-day program, which allows you to set a program for Monday through Friday and a different schedule for both Saturday and Sunday.
Once you understand the settings that your thermostat offers, you need to consider your schedule and jot down a few notes. When does your family generally wake up, leave home, return home, and go to bed each day of the week? This is the type of info you will use to program your thermostat. On your thermostat, you will typically see “home,” “away,” and “sleep” settings. Using these settings and your family’s scheduling info, you can set separate heating and cooling schedules.
To enjoy the most savings, follow the guideline from the U.S. Department of Energy, which recommends that your “sleep” and “away” set points are 7 to 10 degrees higher or lower than your “home” set point, depending on the year. So, if you are most comfortable with your thermostat set to 70 degrees while at home in the summer, you’ll want to schedule your “sleep” and “away” set points to 78 or 80 degrees.
With your family’s schedule and ideal temperature set points in hand, it’s time to input the actual schedule into your thermostat. Select the day of the week and input the time when you want the day to start and at what temperature. Continue to the next period of the day until the day is finished.
For example, if your family typically wakes up at 7 a.m., you’ll want your “home” program to kick on at around 6:45. Then, if everyone leaves the house at 8 a.m. and returns at around 5 p.m., that is the period to set your “away” temperature. You want to set another “home” schedule for the evening to run until your family goes to bed and your “sleep” setting kicks on until the morning and repeats the schedule all over again.
Depending on the model and your comfort level dealing with electronics, programming your thermostat will either be an easy task or a frustrating one. If you need help, one of our team members would be glad to assist. We can also install your thermostat for you so that you don’t need to worry about problems later on due to incorrect installation.
Other Ways to Cut Down on Energy Costs
Installing a programmable thermostat is one of the easiest ways to lower your energy costs, but it isn’t the only thing you can do to save money. Some other options to consider include investing in new insulation and having a home energy audit conducted to check for leaky doors and windows and other issues. You can also upgrade your electrical system, including your lighting.
A task that you definitely don’t want to skip is scheduling regular maintenance for your HVAC system. Ensuring that your heating and cooling system is operating optimally year-round will keep energy costs as low as possible. Unmaintained systems must work harder to produce the same amount of heating and cooling, which means that you have to pay more for the same comfort. Lack of maintenance can also lead to costly repairs and premature system breakdowns.
If your HVAC system is 10 or more years old, you may also want to consider investing in a new system. New units are much more energy efficient than older ones, and they come with convenient features that make them easier to use.
Schedule Our Services Today
At Home Team Electric, we assist residents of Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley with their electrical needs. We can properly install and wire your programmable thermostat and upgrade your electrical systems. Whether you need new lighting, ceiling fans, or smoke detectors, our team can help. We also work on breakers and fuses. Call us today to learn more about our services or to set up an appointment.