Energy Tips

Programming Your Thermostat

Save 10% on heating & cooling each year by programming the thermostat 7-10 degrees from its normal setting for 8 hours a day. Save energy with these tips!

Save on Heating and Cooling By Programming Your Thermostat

There are all kinds of thermostats out on the market and almost all of them have some type of programmable feature. According to you can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling by adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees from its normal setting for 8 hours a day. The key is actually in programming the thermostat it! Whether you have a basic model or an extreme thermostat the goal is to reduce the amount of energy that you are using!

While the manufacturer of your thermostat will have exact instructions on how to set your specific make and model, the following will help you get started.

There are four different programmable thermostats: 

  • 7-day Programming:

    You can set a different heating/cooling schedule for each day of the week. This is especially nice if you and your family have highly sporadic schedules that need a lot of customization. This is the most flexible option! 
  • 5-1-1 Programming:

    You can set one heating/cooling schedule for the weekdays (the 5) while Saturday (1) and Sunday (1) can have their own individualized heating/cooling schedules.
  • 5-2 Programming:

    One heating/cooling schedule for the weekdays and one for the weekends. 
  • 1-Week Programming:

    This only allows for one heating/cooling schedule that is repeated daily for seven days. This is the least flexible of the bunch but is still very flexible in terms when you think about what you can actually do with it (continue reading!).

programmable thermostat to save money


Pictured at the left is a simple 1-Week Programming Thermostat. In order to program you would hit 'Set'. Set your current time so that you can then set the other requested times. Make sure that you set AM or PM. Depending on your system you may have to reset for Daylight Savings later. With a few more button punches you are on your way to start saving money.

There are factory settings already built in, but you will want to adjust these to fit your actual life.


You will need to adjust the thermostat settings of:

Wake Time/Temp:

What time do you get up in the morning? This is especially important if you want your house to be nice and toasty when you get ready in the winter. Think about setting the wake time a little earlier than you need to roll out of bed. The warm house will give you the motivation to pull back the covers and jump in the shower to start your day! 

Check out our electricity shopping guide for more information about your electric bill and costs

thermostats can save you on energy costs

Sleep Time/Temp:

Do you want your house cooler when you sleep? Think about what you and your family's night routine is and what this temperature should be.

The sleep time will be what your temperature is set at for the rest of the night until wake time. Consider if you want this cooler or warmer than your return time.


Related post: How to lower your electricity bill




Leave Time/Temp:

This should be what you want the house to be set at for the day.

The thermostat on the left has been set to increase to 80 degrees F at 6:30 AM each morning. As this is a 1-Week Programming thermostat this will occur each day at 6:30 AM.



Return Time/Temp:

This should be what you want to walk into after time away from the house.

You will need to program both cooling and heating settings and depending on what programming schema you have you might need to repeat this process several times. Set your programmable thermostat as high as comfortable in the summer, try raising the temp a degree or two until you have found the sweet spot. Increase this temperature while you are out of the house to save even more. Remember to keep in mind the comfort of your pets. Your Iguana may be in heaven in the high 80's but Rover would probably not be comfortable.

Related post: How much is the average energy bill?

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