Programmable and Smart Thermostats

In most homes, heating and cooling costs are the largest part of energy bills. Staying comfortable as efficiently as possible is an excellent way to conserve energy and reduce bills. Programmable thermostats can help do this. However, you should know that programmable thermostats must be used properly to achieve any benefit. 

A programmable thermostat works by changing the temperature depending on your work and sleep schedules. When done correctly, your house will be at a comfortable temperature when you return home or wake up. The only difference you will notice is on your utility bill.

graphic of thermostat

The following tips will help you get better results with a programmable thermostat:

  • Only adjust the thermostat for long periods of time — around 8 hours. 
  • Do not micromanage the thermostat. Pick a temperature for when you are at home and for when you are away. Stick with these temperatures. Frequently adjusting the thermostat increases energy costs.
  • Do not create large temperature swings. Adjust the temperature 5 to 8 degrees when you are away from home or sleeping. If you change the thermostat too drastically, your home’s heating/cooling system will have to work longer to return your home to a comfortable temperature, running up your energy costs.
  • If your home has a heat pump system, you should set your thermostat to run at a constant temperature in the winter in order for your heat pump to perform at its best. You can still make use of a programmable thermostat’s settings in the summer months though. There are some programmable thermostats that are specifically designed to work with heat pump systems. If you are interested in one, you should contact an HVAC technician.