Homeowners can save energy by adjusting a thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter and a higher temperature in the summer. Adjusting for times the home is empty or the occupants are asleep can also save energy.
The recommended daytime setting during the winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit when the house is occupied. A lower setting is recommended when the house is empty or overnight. How much lower is up to the homeowner, but energy savings of as much as 1 percent per degree can be realized when the lower setting is maintained for at least eight hours. In the summer, a higher temperature is recommend when the home is unoccupied, with the recommended temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit set only when residents are home and cooling is needed.
Although temperatures can be adjusted with a manual thermostat, programmable models make the task much easier. Some thermostats can be programmed with a different schedule for every day of the week, while other models have one schedule for weekdays and another for weekends. If a programmable thermostat is being added to an existing system, it is important to check for compatibility to ensure proper operation and to avoid damaging equipment. For instance, programmable thermostats are not recommended for use with heat pumps.