How to Program a Thermostat

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Posted January 20, 2018

Programmable thermostats are becoming a better cost-saving option for homeowners. Setting them properly can lead to a serious reduction in your monthly energy bill. Regardless if your thermostat offers advanced features or simply lets you set the specific temperature, there are many ways to program your thermostat to work for you. Keep reading to learn how to program a thermostat!


Program your thermostat based on the daily schedule of you and your family members. Most programmable thermostats offer settings that can be stored for multiple days and times ranging from different daily settings to settings specific for the weekday or weekend. If you’re gone during the day, having the flexibility to adjust your home’s temperature will prevent the unnecessary added expense. A feature of programmable thermostats is that it can automatically shift back to your ideal temperature before you arrive home or as you wake up to keep your home comfortable and eliminate transition time as your home heats back up or cools off. There’s definitely something to be said about knowing your home will always be the perfect temperature! Also, don’t forget that a furnace does not need to work harder to warm your home after the temperature had been set low all day. Win-win.

Thermostat Options:

  • 7-day programming: This option lets you set different temperatures for each day of the week. It’s great for families with erratic and busy schedules.
  • 5-1-1 programming: This option lets you program one temperature for the weekdays plus different settings for Saturday and Sunday.
  • 5-2 programming: This is very similar to 5-1-1, but you don’t get separate offerings for Saturday and Sunday.
  • 1-week programming: This offers the least amount of flexibility because it sets the same temperatures for every day.

Most programmable thermostats offer EPA Energy Star settings that will be best for efficiency and creating significant heating and cooling savings on your bill each month.

Setting Up Your Thermostat:

1. Installing

If you haven’t already, step one is to install your thermostat. Make sure to add batteries as a fail-safe option.

2. Programming

This may depend on the make and model of your thermostat, but follow the manufacturer’s guide to programming. The two modes are heating and cooling. You should always program the two separately and switch between the two whenever necessary. The fan setting is best used for airflow rather than for heating or cooling. You can manually circulate the air with the manual or automatic operation.

3. Setting for the Week

Set the heat for the weekdays by setting the switch to heat and selecting program. Set the program according to the day, time, and temperature that you’d like your home to be. You’ll have the option to set different temperatures for different times of the day (think: “Wake,” “Leave,” “Return,” and “Sleep”). Don’t miss out on savings of up to 10% annually by turning your thermostat down 10 degrees or more when you’re away from home. The ideal temperature for the summer is 72 degrees while you’re home and 82 degrees when you’re away. For the winter, 70 degrees is best when you’re home and 62 degrees while you’re away.

4. Setting for the Weekend

Now you’ll set the weekends in the same way. If you’re home more on the weekend, then you may want to have the furnace or air conditioner run more frequently. Set the times and temperatures you think best match your schedule. Some units don’t separate for Saturday and Sunday, and if that’s the case with your unit, then you’ll want to adjust the best you can to your personal needs or seek out a unit that better matches your schedule.

When setting your thermostat, even if yours isn’t programmable, picking the lowest comfortable temperature will lead to the most savings. You can always grab a sweater or blanket to add warmth! Your wallet will thank you when you pay your next energy bill.

Want something that’s a little simpler? Smart thermostats and Wi-Fi enabled units like the Nest offer even greater control and convenience. With the capability to adjust settings with your smartphone, you can improve predictions for your settings based on weather and changes in your schedule.

If you have any further questions about how to set or program your thermostat, contact a Hiller specialist today.

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