By Sierra Air Conditioning & Plumbing

As you know, heating and cooling costs skyrocket during the hot and cold seasons here in Southern Nevada. According to Energy Star, your heating and cooling usage make up about 45% of your home’s energy use. Your Home Comfort System actually uses the most amount of energy when it turns on. We recommend during the peak cooling and heating seasons that you leave your system on continuously. If you turn your air conditioning off during the summer heat when you are at work or school, it takes more energy and a long period of time to cool your home back down to a temperature at which you are comfortable.

A large portion of your monthly utility bill may go to cooling or heating unoccupied rooms in your home, especially when you leave to go to work or school. Using a programmable thermostat can help you cut costs as you can program your thermostat to automatically change the temperature in your home when you are away from home since no one is at home. You can set it and forget it. reports that changing your thermostat by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours a day may help reduce your energy usage by 5-15% per year on your utility bill. Consider adjusting your thermostat’s temperature/ schedule when your home is vacant for four or more hours. Typically since the heat is so extreme in the Las Vegas valley, you do not want huge temperature swings as that will use more energy. We recommend adjusting your temperature between 5-8 degrees when creating your schedule.

Programmable thermostats offer a variety of settings for you to use. You can program your thermostat to adjust to various temperatures throughout the day based on your family’s schedule. When you are home, you will more often than not want the temperature in the home to be cooler in the summer or warmer in the winter so you stay comfortable. These schedules also allow you to set both the heating schedule and the cooling schedule at the same time so you only have to program your thermostat once. However, most of these thermostats also allow you to override the scheduling if need be.

Schedule Types

Typically, there are four types of programmable thermostats with varying scheduling options:

  • 7-day programming. Best for individuals or families with erratic schedules, since this is the most flexible option. It lets you program a different heating/cooling schedule for each day of the week.
  • 5-1-1 programming. One heating/cooling schedule for the week, plus you can schedule a different heating/cooling plan for Saturday and Sunday.
  • 5-2 programming. Same as 5-1-1 programming, except Saturday and Sunday will have the same heating/cooling plan.
  • 1-week programming. You can only set one heating/cooling plan that will be repeated daily for the entire week.

Programming options

  • Waketime: This is when you wake up in the morning. We recommend setting the wake time a few hours before you wake up so that your home can adjust to the ideal temperature when you actually wake up.
  • Away time: This is when you are not at home. We recommend setting this temperature between 5-8 degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter.
  • Home time: This is when you are home so this is the temperature you will set it to where you are most comfortable.
  • Sleep time: Typically during the summer and the winter, you can lower the temperature when you are sleeping as your body gets the best rest when your body temperature is cooler.

Wi-Fi Thermostats

There are also Wi-Fi thermostats that allow you to program a schedule, but also allow you to control the temperature in your home from your smartphone. Once you download the app and connect it to your thermostat, you can change your home’s temperature no matter where you are.

If you are interested in a new thermostat or need help with your current thermostat, check out our YouTube channel to see the various models and programming instructions.

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