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How Do I Work My Programmable Thermostat?

Jul 30, 2018 | General HVAC

With all the options available for setting your programmable thermostat, it’s easy to get confused. Of course, this defeats the purpose of a programmable thermostat––it’s designed to for you to “set it and forget it,” making your life easier. It’s worth taking the minute or two it takes to read this to clear up anything that may be confusing you about the process. And you can always call our qualified technicians here at Willamette to help you with anything you don’t understand.

Traditionally, “set it and forget it” means setting your thermostat at one temperature and just plain leaving it there. Forget having to worry about it or change it. The philosophy behind that mindset was constantly changing the temperature to attempt to save money on energy actually didn’t save anything. Studies have since shown that behavior isn’t accurate at all, and changing the temperature in different situations does save you money, especially here in Hillsboro, Oregon. So with a programmable thermostat, “set it and forget it” takes on a new meaning. You can program your thermostat once with the temperature changes specified and then forget about it.

How to Set Your Thermostat

Depending on the type of programmable thermostat you have, there will be somewhat different options. That said, most programmables work on the same time options: Wake Time, Sleep Time, Leave Time, and Return Time. Be sure when programming your thermostat you enter realistic times accurately reflecting you and your family’s schedule. You want to get the most from your thermostat.

A few things to keep in mind prior to setting your schedule:

  • Install name-brand batteries, and change them annually. Cheaper batteries don’t have as long of a charge in them. You want your thermostat working when you need it.
  • Feel free to temporarily override your set schedule and adjust the temperature when needed. This override automatically cancels and resumes to normal programming. Don’t select Hold/Permanent/Vacation (depending on your thermostat, and unless you’re actually going on vacation), and just choose Temporary.
  • Avoid cranking temperatures to extremes with the mindset of heating up or cooling down your home quicker. The system doesn’t work that way, and it just uses up your energy faster, costing you more money. Your equipment will heat or cool your home just as fast setting it at the accurate temperatures.

Here’s how to generally set your thermostat:

1. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Choose either Heating or Cooling for whichever you’ll be doing, obviously dependent on the season.

3. Set the temperature for weekdays by setting the switch to heating or cooling and selecting the weekday program. Start with Monday or just weekday, depending on your model, and select the time and temperature for that day(s) you’d like your home to be. Then continue with the remaining times for that day(s) with temperatures. For example, you may want your air conditioner to cool your home to 72 degrees at 7:00 a.m., so when your alarm goes off at 7:30 a.m., your home is cool for you. Then when you go to bed at 11:00 p.m., you would want to set your air conditioning to 76 degrees at 11:30 p.m. so you’re saving energy while you sleep. The same procedure goes for the heating setting. Many thermostat models allow you to set times and temperatures for four times during weekends. So if you work or leave during the day, you can change the temperature to reflect that and save even more money.

4. Set the temperature for weekends in the same manner. However, since most people tend to be home more during the weekend, you may only want to set the temperature for your wakeup and bed times. You can use a temporary override to adjust the temperature if you decide to leave the house during the day at all.

Programmable thermostats are really designed for you to “set it and leave it.” Taking a few minutes when your thermostat’s installed to correctly set your schedule will make your home comfortable and allow you to save money at the same time. Call Willamette at 503-259-3200 if it’s time for a new thermostat or if you need help programming yours. We’re here to help.


Willamette HVAC is proud to offer heating and cooling services to Portland, Vancouver, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Aloha, Cornelius, Forest Grove, North Plains, Banks, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood and the surrounding communities.
Request service online today or call us at 503-259-3200.

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