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How To Use Your Thermostat 101

Did anyone ever teach you how to use your thermostat? Probably not. You’re hot—you turn the temperature down. You’re cold—you turn the temperature up. Easy enough, right? Apparently not. Fear not— we’re here to teach you how to use your thermostat!

The timer systems that come with programmable thermostats can greatly assist in cutting energy costs that come with keeping cool in the summer months. But according to a new study, most of us have no idea how to efficiently use these tiny boxes on the wall.

Not only do we not know how to correctly use our thermostats to efficiently cool our homes and keep our electricity bills under control, we don’t even bother to try. The study found that “about 40% of programmable thermostat owners did not use programming features, and 33% had programming features overridden.” That’s nearly 75% of those with the option to program their AC turning their back on energy savings!

These programming features are designed to keep our homes warmer during the day when we are away, and cooler when we come home. But if we aren’t using them, we are wasting a lot of energy—and we are paying for it. And it doesn’t look like we are getting any help from the manual. The study found that 70 percent of all respondents didn’t know where their manuals were. But don’t worry—you can most likely look up your manual online with a quick Google search, and Exact Solar is here with some tips to help you save energy this summer!

How to Use Your Programmable Thermostat via ENERGY STAR

  1. Think about your family’s schedule: when everyone wakes up, leaves the house, and goes to bed.
  2. Increase the temperature by 7 degrees when everyone leaves, and by 4 degrees when everyone goes to sleep. If you have a manual thermostat, you can still follow these recommendations—you’ll just have to keep it in mind before you walk out the door or hit the hay.
  3. Don’t turn the temperature way down if you get hot—that won’t cool things off any faster, it will just use a lot of excess energy. Instead, turn it down 2 degrees and take a cold shower.
  4. If you’re going out of town, put the temperature on hold at your normal “away from home” temperature.

Other tips to keep cool:

-Turning on a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat about 4°F without affecting your comfort level. But be sure to turn fans off when you leave the room—they cool people with the wind chill effect, not the actual room.

-Don’t keep lamps or televisions near the thermostat, because it can sense these heat sources and may run longer than necessary.

-Use the outdoor grill over the oven.

-Clean/change AC filters regularly.

To use the power of the sun to heat and cool your PA or NJ home or pool in any weather, visit

Written by Sarah Bergen. Sarah is a writer and editor from New Jersey. She enjoys writing about environmental issues, sustainability, and health. She can be reached at [email protected].

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