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How To Use a Programmable Thermostat

How To Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are the best way to heat and cool your home, but not if you don’t know how to properly use it! They can save you money, energy, and effort (considering it does all the adjusting for you) — and we’re here to help you reap all the benefits.

Change the Factory Settings

Just like your smartphone, most programmable thermostats have factory settings that are pre-programmed for the “typical American home.” But one size does not fit all, so you are going to have to adjust the settings to sync with your specific lifestyle.

Programming options are based on:

  • Wake time.

  • Sleep time.

  • Leave time.

  • Return time.

Energy-saving rule of thumb:


  • For the hours you are home and awake during the winter months, program the temperature to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Lower the temperature at least 10 degrees when you are asleep or leave the house. And don’t worry, your furnace does not have to work harder to warm your house after the temperature has been set low.


  • When you are home, set the temperature to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • When you don’t need to cool your home, manually shut off the AC (keep in mind, if your house gets too warm it will kick back on).

Programming and Timing Tips

  1. Shut down the heat or air conditioner 20 to 30 minutes before you leave your home. Turn it back on 20 to 30 minutes before you come back home.

  2. Turn the heat down a few degrees 60 minutes before you go to sleep and increase it 30 minutes before you wake up (approximately) every morning.

  3. Install your thermostat away from an area that could give it a false reading — for example, keep it away from sunlight, light bulbs, doorways, windows, and skylights.

  4. When leaving for vacation, use the “hold” function to keep a constant energy-saving temperature. We recommend setting the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees in the winter and no higher than 90 degrees in the summer.

  5. Take a few days to tweak your program before sticking to a set schedule to make sure it feels best for you.

If you want help properly setting up your thermostat, use the table below, courtesy of ENERGY STAR and contact Gold Medal Service. We can recommend smart and programmable thermostats that will save you money and energy every month.

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Also, don't forget to schedule your air conditioning maintenance appointment and professional cleaning for the spring! This annual service visit is crucial for maintaining your manufacturer's warranty, extending the unit’s lifespan, and preventing a breakdown in the dog days of summer.