Part 1: How to set my programmable thermostat to save money
Meet the expert behind this four-part series!
Supplies: Programmable thermostat, smartphone
Why it's important: Setting up a programmable thermostat can seem as frustrating as setting up other electronic devices within a home. And the continuous adjusting of the thermostat and never getting the perfect temperature is what we call “tinkeritis.” A programmable thermostat can save up to 30% on your energy bills if set correctly. The general rule is to keep your house warmer than usual when you are away and lower the thermostat setting when you return home and need cooling.
STEP 1: The first setting to check is the “WAKE” mode. In the wintertime and summertime, you can set the ideal temperature 30 minutes before you get out of bed.
STEP 2: The “WORK” mode eliminates the need to heat or cool an empty home when you leave for work. Program your thermostat to start work mode 15 minutes before the time you usually leave for work. Set this temperature 5 degrees above (summer) or below (winter) your normal temperature.
STEP 3: The “RETURN” mode if for when you return home from work and want a temperature that provides your preferred comfort. The return setting should be set 30 minutes before you usually return home to ensure your house is at the desired temperature when you walk through the door.
STEP 4: The “SLEEP” mode is when you will be under the covers, so you don’t need the house to be at the same temperature as during the day. Set this mode to 5 degrees lower than your normal daytime temperature 15 minutes before you crawl into bed.
Bonus tip: If your basement is always much colder in the summertime than the upstairs, this tip could help you save. Move the switch on your fan to run continuously and use the cooler basement air to cool the upstairs. It might not seem very efficient to leave the fan running, but it’s much more efficient to run the fan than running the compressor, which provides cooling.
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