How to program your smart thermostat to save energy and money


a graphic of smart thermostats

Smart thermostats help you save on energy bills by using a custom heating and cooling schedule that’s tailored to your habits. By gradually bringing your home to the desired temperature while you’re asleep or away, a smart thermostat allows for more natural temperature changes that require less energy than rapid manual adjustments.

Once you’ve installed your thermostat, you may be wondering how to set up the best schedule to get those savings. While some smart thermostats learn your habits and build a schedule for you, others ask you to manually enter your schedule and temperature preferences. This process is very easy and can be done on your thermostat’s smartphone app. Follow these tips to get started.

Know your schedule

First, see what kind of schedule your thermostat accommodates—daily, weekday/weekend, etc. Then make some personal notes about your family’s schedule, including what times everyone is away from home or asleep. You’ll need this info if you’re manually entering your schedule.

Pick your temps

Your smart thermostat likely has setpoints for “home”, “away” and “sleep”. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68° F in cold months and setting your away and sleep temperatures 7 to 10 degrees lower. In the summer, you can save by keeping your thermostat set to 78° F when you’re at home and need cooling, and a little higher when you’re away.

Enter your schedule

With your notes handy, you can go ahead and create your schedule in your thermostat’s  smartphone app. Most apps will feature a schedule builder that makes the process quick and easy. Simply select a day of the week and start entering your desired temperatures for each part of the day. Most likely you’ll just enter one weekday and one weekend day, and the schedule builder will do the rest. If you have a learning thermostat, you may be able to skip this process and simply use your thermostat for a week while it learns your habits. Check your thermostat’s instruction manual to be sure.

Start saving

Once you’ve entered and enabled your schedule, your smart thermostat will be all set to keep you comfortable when you’re home and save energy and money when you’re asleep or away.

Want to learn more? Check out our blog on how to install your smart thermostat.