How to Program Your Thermostat for Maximum Energy Savings

Published on: September 26, 2015
A programmable thermostat | AC Southeast®

Having a programmable thermostat doesn’t guarantee you energy savings. In fact, mistakes like programming it to stay on high no matter the time of day can eat up more energy than you intended. Keeping your home cool through a humid Destin, Florida autumn is difficult when you factor in trying to save energy. If you know what temperature to keep your house and how to program the thermostat for your schedule, however, you can maximize your energy savings.

Know Your Temperatures

When you’re home in the summer and warm fall months, your thermostat should be set to 78 degrees. Some people will advise you to turn it off completely when you’re not home. In Florida that’s not always feasible because of how hot and humid it gets, but you can let the AC go up by 10 degrees when you aren’t there and still save energy.

Later in autumn after the days get a little cooler and a little more manageable, you can program your thermostat to turn off when you aren’t home and to resume the 78 degree setting when you are.

Create A Weekly Schedule

One of the best ways to ensure your programmable thermostat is saving you energy is to program it for a weekly schedule, then leave it alone. You know that 78 degrees is the optimum temperature for summer and hot fall months in Florida. Program your thermostat to stop cooling about half an hour before you leave the house in the morning, and program it to start cooling about half an hour before you get home.

If you can stand it, let the house be a little warmer while you’re sleeping, too. About an hour before you go to bed, program the thermostat a few degrees higher, then have it kick back to 78 half an hour before you usually get up.

You can get a thermostat programmable for a weekly schedule, one with differing schedules for weekends and weekdays, or one with a different program for each day. It depends on your schedule needs. Whatever will keep you from having to adjust it is what you should go for.

Use Wi-Fi for More Options

For more control, especially if you have an extremely variable schedule or frequently go out of town, find out if you can hook your programmable thermostat up to a wi-fi connection. That way you can access it from your phone or computer, and you can adjust the settings in your house no matter what your schedule throws at you. It’s also a great option for fall if you take vacation, because fall weather is more variable. You can adapt to whatever weather happens at home, even when you aren’t there.

Zone Your Cooling

Sometimes the more feasible cooling option in a climate like Florida’s is to zone your cooling instead of reducing it. Cool just the rooms of the house you spend time in, and leave the other ones alone. The guest room probably doesn’t need to be kept cool all summer, and you probably don’t use the living room much until you get home from your day, so you don’t have to cool it down in the morning when you wake up.

This is an especially good practice for sleeping, because not everyone can fall asleep when it’s hot. You may need the thermostat at 78 to fall asleep, but you don’t want to waste a bunch of energy by keeping the whole house cool all night. Don’t cool the rest of your house much at night–just maintain a comfortable thermostat setting in your bedroom. Several new thermostats offer temperature zones, and systems like ductless mini-splits are automatically zoned.

Your programmable thermostat offers the potential for energy savings if you use its scheduling ability to your advantage. Keep track of your energy bill and continue to adjust if you don’t immediately see the reduction in energy use you were hoping for. To get a programmable thermostat installed or to upgrade your current system, use AC Southeast® to find a Florida HVAC contractor.