The Midwest spring and summer is right around the corner, and you know what that experience is like. You rush out the door for work, and you stop to turn off your A/C since no one is going to be home throughout the day. Then when you walk in through the door at the end of the day, it feels like swamp lands. Instead of having a thermostat that only provides you with one temperature setting, explore your programmable thermostat options. That way you walk into a cool and welcoming home without having to deal with adjusting the thermostat in your home when no one is there.

And if energy bills have been draining your wallet, it might be an even better time to consider a programmable thermostat. You can lower future summer cooling costs as well as current winter heating bills with a programmable thermostat. And you want to be well-informed so you can make the right decision.


Programmable vs. Standard

Programmable thermostats are ideal for daily use. You can get significant savings from programming regular setbacks and set-forwards for a period of eight hours (e.g., when you are at work). However, with a basic thermostat, you have to rely on your memory to turn the system off and on. This also means you return to an uncomfortable home. With a programmable thermostat, you set it once, and the system does the work for you. And you come back to a comfortable house, without having to pay for conditioned air all day long.

Many programmable thermostats come with convenient features that help you save money as well. Some high-end models let you set different programs for each day of the week. If you know you return home later on Thursdays, you can fix it to turn back on later. Using the override feature, you can also make one-time changes without interfering with your predetermined schedule. Some models remind you to change the HVAC system’s air filter, a simple task that helps keep your system working optimally.

The benefits of using programmable thermostats are many: they reduce the HVAC system’s workload, extend the system’s longevity, you avoid unexpected breakdowns that could require expensive repairs, and you save energy.


Don’t Cling to That Manual Thermostat

To increase home energy efficiency, most homeowners think first of more substantial investments like replacing their furnace or air conditioner. However, there are smaller ways to reduce your utility bills. Switching from a manual thermostat to programmable model can help you more efficiently control home climate and energy management.

Moving on up

For manual thermostat users, a digital model that is more accurate, intuitive to use, and mercury-free is a sound investment. However, for more significant heating and cooling efficiency, consider a programmable thermostat. Where older models had to be manually set to a particular temperature, programmable thermostats allow homeowners to set specific temperatures for different seasons and times of the day. In contrast to older models’ reliance on either hot or cold settings for programmable zones, newer thermostats can provide climate control on a room-to-room basis that continually adjusts to changing temperatures.

Benefits of programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats come in several varieties. All of them provide year-round management of whole-house comfort from morning to daytime, evening, and night with only one programming. The main benefits include:

  • Reduced monthly energy use, even if you are just managing nighttime settings.
  • Lower utility costs from climate management only when at home or awake.
  • Decreased energy use and strain on heating and cooling systems with fewer drastic changes.
  • Whole-system maintenance, such as indoor air quality monitoring and air filter replacement reminders.
  • For some models, sensors allow temperature management from room to room and humidity control for specific areas or in the entire home.
  • With smart thermostats, the ability to control climate remotely through your smartphone.

For any programmable thermostat, your home’s temperature should be set at least 5 degrees above or below standard settings to ensure the highest energy efficiency.

Outside of the comfort advantages you get with this device, you also save money by efficiently planning your heating and cooling needs. You won’t forget to set the thermostat down when you leave for work on a busy morning.


Choosing The Right Thermostat

As we mentioned above, a programmable thermostat gives you options for setting the temperature at different times of the day. The exact amount of customization depends on the type of programmable thermostat you use. Some allow you to program for specific dates, and others work on a weekday and weekend schedule. This type of technology gets new features and advances on a regular basis.

All programmable thermostats offer significant advantages over manual thermostats. But a wide variety of options are available, and it helps to make an informed decision. Programmable thermostats can be broken down into a few basic categories:

  • 7-Day models offer the greatest versatility among programmable thermostats, with the ability to create a separate heating or cooling schedule for each day of the week. And four periods each day provide a flexible option. Households that include members with varying schedules each week can benefit significantly from this feature.
  • 5+2-Day models are the most straightforward programmable thermostats, with one set of settings for weekdays and another for the weekend. This can still save on energy while boosting your comfort level, although the versatility is less than the other models. Like the 7-day model, four daily periods are available.
  • 5-1-1 models are intermediate between the two. They allow you to set one schedule for weekdays, another for Saturday, and a third for Sunday with four periods of programming per day. Slightly less versatile than the 7-day option, this option is useful for a set schedule on weekdays. Energy efficiency is also improved with this type of programming option.
  • 1-Week thermostats are the least flexible programmable thermostat. However, four periods per day are featured with one set of programs for the entire week.
  • Learning thermostats take the guesswork out of programming in temperature ranges. It tracks the temperatures you set your thermostat to throughout the day and begins learning your routine. Eventually, it sets the thermostat correctly without user input.
  • Wi-fi enabled is perfect for when you want to control your home when you aren’t there. Look for wi-fi enabled thermostats that have a companion app for mobile phones or computers. You set the temperature and control other aspects of the thermostat with these settings.


Location Considerations

Installing your thermostat in the right place is essential. A poor location can cause the thermostat sensor to misinterpret the temperature in your house, which can reduce its efficiency and interfere with your savings.

  • Look for a location on an interior wall, away from drafts and heat sources.
  • Avoid placing a thermostat near windows, doors, heat-producing appliances, direct sunlight, heating vents, and registers.
  • Never install a thermostat on an exterior wall.


Programs And Settings

Most programmable thermostats come with factory settings designed to save energy in the average household, but you can adjust these settings according to your specific needs and preferences. Our suggestions would be:

  • Winter settings: Try programming your thermostat to heat your house to 70 degrees in the morning and evening, or whenever you’re home. When nobody’s home or everyone is asleep, you can set it back 5 degrees or more.
  • Summer settings: For maximum summer savings, set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees while you’re home, and at least five degrees higher when you’re not.

Heading Out Of Town?

Programmable thermostats give you a simple way to have enhanced control over the cooling equipment of your home, even when you aren’t there. They help you conserve energy and save money when you are gone for extended periods of time. But they can also be used on a daily basis for year-round energy savings.

Before you leave town, you can set your thermostat to an energy-efficient setting. You don’t pay to keep an empty house heated or cooled. You can set the program to occasionally generate some conditioned air to prevent your home from reaching unsafe temperatures, but it will use just a small fraction of the energy you would use if you left the system on the whole time.

Here’s How a Programmable Thermostat Boosts Your Heating Efforts

A programmable thermostat can help to minimize wasted heat during the cold months by limiting the use of your heating and cooling system during unnecessary times while increasing the comfort level of your home.

It is easy to see how the programmable feature will save on energy costs. But comfort levels can also be increased by the timing which allows for heat or A/C to activate a short while before waking in the morning or arriving home during the day. Newer thermostats offer more features such as low battery indication and a wireless option which allows control from a smartphone. Programmable thermostats are a great way to improve energy efficiency and comfort without a major upgrade to your system.


Whether your manual thermostat needs replacing or you’re just looking to save while gaining comfort, a programmable thermostat will improve home energy efficiency. Contact Stack Heating & Cooling today for more on programmable thermostats and improving heating and cooling systems for your Greater Cleveland Area home.

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