Programmable thermostats are great for busy families or homeowners who spend regular stretches of time away from home. Because these units work around your schedule, it’s basically a “set it and forget it” system. There’s no reason to constantly check the thermostat display if you want to cut back on your energy usage. The latest models do the work for you—as long as they’re programmed the right way.
Why Switch to a Programmable Thermostat?
Giving your HVAC system a routine to follow can dramatically cut back on your energy costs. The purpose of a programmable thermostat is to automatically limit your home’s heating and cooling efforts whenever you don’t need them as much. Typically, these settings change based on when you’re at home or away, as well as when you’re sleeping. Get your new thermostat installed right, and it’s pretty easy to live in comfort and save energy at the same time.
Setting Your Programmable Thermostat for Summer
The Department of Energy suggests that you keep indoor temps at 78°F when you’re at home in the summertime. Then the “away temperature” can jump up 7 degrees while you’re away. It’s a good goal to aim for if you really want to keep your energy costs down, but we’ve found that it can be somewhat unrealistic for families around Indianapolis.
Oftentimes, a 7-degree temperature spike can be too extreme for your system to make up—which means you might save a few bucks while you’re away, but your home won’t feel good when you get back. We typically recommend a 3- to 5-degree difference when it’s really hot outside (like 90 degrees or more) so your indoor climate actually stays comfortable. So instead of having your home temp at 78°F, you’ll probably want to consider a comfortable base temp that’s 75°F or less.
Once you decide what your home’s “comfort temp” is, your thermostat will be able to adjust to your schedule throughout the day. Programmable thermostats often divide your time into four parts: Wake, Leave, Return, and Sleep. It usually looks something like this:
The wake setting should be programmed at your family’s comfort level, or slightly above it. Ideally, it will turn on about 30 minutes before you get up in the morning. Let your wake setting stay on for as long as you’re at home. On the weekend, this might be all day. But if you’re consistently out the door by 7:00 on Monday-Friday, you’ll want to let your system know.
When you’re out of the house in the summer, let your system kick up the temperature about 3 to 5 degrees higher. For the best savings, your leave setting should be programmed to start about 20 or 30 minutes before you head out. This lets your AC get a break when you don’t need it, like if you’re running errands or at the pool.
The return setting tends to be programmed to the same temperature you have for your wake setting. You’ll want your return setting to kick on about 20 to 30 minutes before you get back. That gives your AC system enough time to cool down your home so it’ll be exactly how you like it when you walk through the door.
Evening modes in summer should be set about 4 degrees higher than normal settings, but you can always let the temperature go up a few more degrees if you’d like. Just try to program this temperature shift to happen about an hour before bedtime. That will give you the best results before the cycle repeats the next day.
Professional Thermostat Installation
It can take a few weeks to get in sync with your programmable thermostat, so stay with it! Most people have to make a few tweaks along the way, but it’s all worth it once you find the settings and routine that works for you.
If you have any questions about your existing programmable thermostat—or you’re ready to make the switch to an upgraded unit—please contact LCS Heating & Cooling. We’ll give you the scoop on all the latest thermostat models and help you get the perfect system for your home. After your install, we’ll even walk you through all the steps for programming your new thermostat. Working with the experts makes setup a breeze. Call us today to get started!