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The Importance of a Smart Thermostat Schedule

by on July 29, 2014

There are two main ways smart thermostats help homeowners save money on heating and cooling costs: the daily schedule, and advanced algorithms. First let’s take a look at the schedule, and then we’ll discuss how it helps you save money. We’ll look at the advanced algorithms in a separate post.

Once you’ve gone through the ecobee3 guided setup, you can create a fully personalized schedule at your leisure.

There are two key components to the schedule:

  1. Activities, sometimes referred to as program periods, tell your thermostat how you organize your day — what time you wake up, leave for work, return from work, go to sleep, and anything else you do in between.
  2. Comfort Settings tell your thermostat what temperature you would like your home to be (your desired indoor temperature) during any given Activity.

Not only can you have a unique schedule for every day of the week, but you can also have as many activities per day (and create custom comfort settings for each activity through your personal web portal). This gives you complete control over when your home’s heating and cooling equipment runs.

For example, you may have the following Activities:

I wake up at 7:00 AM

I leave at 7:30 AM

I come home at 6:00 PM

I sleep at 10:00 PM

Furthermore, you may have the following Comfort Settings:

When I am home: Turn my heating on if the temperature falls below 70F and turn my cooling on if the temperature rises above 78F

When I am away: Turn my heating on if the temperature falls below 62F and turn my cooling on if the temperature rises above 85F

When I am asleep: Turn my heating on if the temperature falls below 62F and turn my cooling on if the temperature rises above 82F

Based on the above, your thermostat will use your Activities and Comfort Settings to:

Use the home settings from 7:00 AM to 7:30 AM

Use the away settings from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Use the home settings from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Use the sleep settings from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM

When you are home, you want your house to be as comfortable as possible. However, when you’re not home, or when you’re asleep, you can let your home get hotter than usual (in the summer) or colder than usual (in the winter), before letting your HVAC equipment turn on. This means you run your heating and cooling less and save money whenever you’re away or asleep.

The larger the difference in your away or sleep temperatures (compared to your home temperature), the more you save. According to some studies, for every degree you turn your thermostat down during the winter (i.e. the colder you let your place get before turning the heat on), you can save between 3% and 5% on your heating bill, and the same for turning your thermostat up during summer.