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An Introduction to Programmable Thermostats

See how Programmable Thermostats can save you money.

Programmable Controllable Thermostats

Programmable Controllable Thermostats (PCT), typically key elements to any energy efficiency initiatives, allow customers to save energy and money by offering programmed settings to regulate temperature, be it winter or summer, day or night.

Studies indicate that the average annual energy bill for a typical household totals $2,200, half of which goes to heating and cooling the premises. Properly installed and operating PCTs have the potential to reduce these bills by almost 10 percent without sacrificing comfort which is why any Electrician in Townsville should be discussing changing out your old themostat for one of these.

There are typically 4 settings for a PCT:

  • Wake: Typically set for 6:00 AM, the set point temperature for heat may be in the range of 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and for cool in the range of 78 degrees (Fahrenheit)
  • Day: Set around 8:00 AM, a setback of at least 8 degrees (Fahrenheit) for heat and a setup of at least 7 degrees (Fahrenheit) for cool are recommended
  • Evening: Normally set for 6:00 PM, PCT typically have set points similar to those for the “wake” setting.
  • Sleep: Typically set for 10:00 PM, a setback of at least 8 degrees (Fahrenheit) for heat and a setup of at least 4 degrees (Fahrenheit) are recommended.

Choosing a Programmable Controllable Thermostat


There are additional features to consider when selecting a PCT in addition to its ability to address the minimum four pre-programmed settings described above. These features include:

  • Digital Back Light Displays
  • Touch Pad Screen Programming
  • Voice and/or Phone Programming
  • Hold/Vacation Options
  • Indications of Time to Change Air Filters and Signal Malfunctioning of Heating/Cooling Systems, for solar power too.
  • Adaptive Sensors

In selecting a model and subsequent range of options, one should consider his/her schedule, frequency and duration away from home, and then narrow in on one of the three most typical models:


7 – Day Model: Designed for situations where the daily schedule is in constant state of flux. This allows maximum flexibility, allowing for the setting of different programs for different days.

5+2 – Day Model: Provides the same schedule for each weekday and a different one on the weekends.

5-1-1 – Model: Allows for the same schedule for each weekday and then different ones on Saturday and Sunday.

Usage Tips


Maintain the temperature settings for PCT at their energy savings set points for at least eight hours. Extended absences from home and sleep time at night provide outstanding opportunities to accomplish this. A Townsville home power audit can help figure out your total cost savings.

Use the override – for example, making an area temporarily warmer or cooler – on an exception-basis only and allow it to be canceled automatically at the next program period.

Avoid using the “hold/permanent/vacation” hold feature to manage day-to-day temperature settings. Alternatively, use this feature only when you are planning to be away for an extended period and thereby establish the setting several degrees warmer in the summer and several degrees cooler in the winter.

Allow the settings to work with minimal override because manually adjusting temperature settings at extremes will not heat or cool the house any faster, but will result in much less efficiency.

If a home has multiple heating and cooling zones, a programmed setback thermostat is recommended to maximize comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency throughout the premises.

Ensure that batteries are changed periodically (at least annually) for PCT that run on batteries or have battery backups. And always keep in mind electrical safety.