Programming Programmable Thermostats

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If you still have the older rotary thermostats in your home, it may be time for a change to a programmable thermostat. Programming them is fairly simple with this how-to guide. By installing a programmable thermostat, you'll save energy and will see big savings on your heating costs. This thermostat can turn the heat down when you're not home and turn it up again before you get home. The same is true for cooling your home. It only makes sense that there is no need to cool or heat the home when no one is there. There are many different choices when it comes to programmable thermostats. Some give the choice of setting temperatures for the weekdays and another ​setting for the weekend. Other programmable thermostats have setting options for each day and many times during the day and night. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: a Few Minutes

Here's How

  1. The first step in programming is to install the programmable thermostat. Install the battery backup batteries that will maintain the memory in the event of power failure.
  2. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to program the thermostat. There are two different settings; heating and cooling. There is also a fan setting control for manual and automatic operation. The manual setting will allow you to run the fan to circulate air inside the house without heating or cooling or to continuously move the air while it is being heated or cooled.
  3. First, set the heat for the weekdays by setting the switch to heat and selecting a program. Set the program to Monday and select the time and temperature for that day that you'd like the home to be. You have the option to set different temperatures for different times of the day. For instance, you may want the furnace to heat the room to 70 degrees at 4:00 PM and then turn down to 65 degrees at 7:00 AM in the morning when you leave for work. Most units allow you to set up to four times per day for weekdays and two settings for the weekend. You may want the house warm or cool slightly before you get home.
  4. Now set the weekends in the same way. Since you will likely be home more on the weekends, you may want to tell the furnace and air conditioner to run more frequently. Press the program button unit the day of the week reaches Saturday. Set the times and temperatures you'd like and then press program again to set Sunday. Some units only have a weekend mode on both Saturday and Sunday. On the other hand, if this is a weekend home, you may only need the home up to temperature during the weekend. That's the beautiful part about programmable thermostats, they are adjustable to your individual needs.


  1. Make sure the programmable thermostat is wired correctly.
  2. Always install fresh batteries for battery backup power.
  3. When setting the times and temperatures, allow enough time before you get home for the furnace or air conditioner to get the room temperature to the desired temperature before you get home.
  4. When shopping for a programmable thermostat, decide whether you need a thermostat with separate settings for Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise, those two days will have the same settings.
  5. Since it is unlikely you'll be replacing this thermostat anytime soon, buy a higher quality unit. Cheaper isn't always the best choice.

What You Need

  • Two AA Batteries