Can using a programmable thermostat save you money on your heating and cooling bills? Yes, it can if you use it properly. There is a substantial savings to be had by using a programmable thermostat to regulate your home’s comfort settings. Using pre-set temperature settings can reduce your home’s energy consumption by cycling less when the home is unoccupied or less cooling is needed.

Programmable thermostats let you optimize your heating and cooling efforts by creating different temperature settings for different times of the day. Instead of your air conditioning system running full-blast all day long, you can create pre-set times to turn the system up or down depending on the cooling needs of the family.

The Department of Energy recommends setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees in the summer when you are home and raising the temperature a few degrees when you will be away or sleeping. The maximum savings occurs when the temperature remains consistent for 8 hours or more. Raising the temperature by 10 degrees during the day while you are at work will save you approximately 10% or more on your cooling bills.

It is a myth that it costs less to run your AC all day than to turn it off when you leave the house. You save money when you don’t use energy for a certain period of time. Your home would be extremely hot and humid when you returned at the end of the day, so raising the temperature a few degrees may be a better option. Anytime you raise the temperature by 5 degrees or more above 78 you are saving money.

One way to save with a programmable thermostat is to create different setting for different times of the day. Most thermostats have the ability to hold 4 or more pre-set program settings at a time. You can set the temperature higher early in the day when it is still cool outside and take advantage of a little natural cooling.

Raising the temperature means that the air conditioner will not cycle on until the inside temperature reaches the temperature set on the thermostat. If you create a setting of 82 degrees for the hours of 7am to 10am, the thermostat will only turn on if it reaches that temperature. You can then set it back to 78 degrees from 10am to 3pm which is typically the hottest part of the day and raise it again a few degrees when you retire to bed for the night. You can raise it as much as 5 degrees more when you will be away from home for at least 8 hours or more.

  • So here is a quick breakdown of how to save with a programmable thermostat:
  • Set thermostat higher when it is cooler outside or you will be gone
  • Set temperature higher at night when you are sleeping
  • Keep it at around 78 degrees or more when you are home (tip* using ceiling fans helps too)

Programmable thermostats help you lower cooling costs by optimizing your comfort settings and using less energy. If you would like to know more about programmable thermostats or have questions about installation or compatibility with your current system, contact ABA Heating and Cooling.