How To Program a Thermostat

How To Program a Thermostat

, by Thrive Agency, 5 min reading time

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning thermostats back to at least 7 degrees eight hours a day can help the average homeowner save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs. Fortunately, you don’t need to do this manually throughout the day. 

With a programmable thermostat, you can build your temperature settings based on your schedule and preferences. The result? You get to lower your costs and keep your home comfortable without adjusting the temperature yourself now and then. 

Before breaking down the general steps on how to program a thermostat, let’s go through the two types of programmable thermostats.

Programmable Thermostats

These thermostats generally refer to units that let you set automatic heating and cooling schedules for specific days. For example, with a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule that adjusts the temperature once you’ve left home or are about to sleep. 

Smart Thermostat 

Programmable and smart thermostats are often confused with each other. While they offer the same convenience of taking away manual temperature control, the latter offers more features and capabilities when it comes to heating and cooling your home. 

Smart thermostats have self-learning features to observe your daily routine and automatically set up temperature adjustments. They can also be programmed with a mobile app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, making their use as simple as possible. 

How To Program a Thermostat: 5 General Steps 

Programming a thermostat can initially seem overwhelming, especially if you’re upgrading from a traditional unit. However, this can be easily done with a few steps, and your effort will be worth it once you start enjoying savings on your heating and cooling costs. 

The specific instructions you’ll have to follow to set up your thermostat will naturally depend on its brand, but here’s a general guide you can use to get started.

Hook Up the Thermostat

Start getting your thermostat ready for programming by installing backup batteries. This helps maintain the memory of your settings in case of a power outage. Then, set the clock so the thermostat can follow the temperature schedule you’ll set accurately. 

Finally, read the user manual to familiarize yourself with your unit before proceeding. Brands and models have different controls and programming settings. Reading the instructions provided by the manufacturer will help you understand how it works and how to maximize its features.

Know Your Schedule 

One essential thing you must do before programming a thermostat to do it successfully is to understand your individual or family schedule. Beyond knowing which times everyone is at home or away, it also helps to look into each member’s preferences. Does your partner like it cold when they are working at home? Or maybe the entire family prefers a warm temperature when watching TV at night. 

Then, check if your thermostat can accommodate a daily, weekly, or weekday/weekend schedule. 


  • Daily scheduling lets you set different temperature settings for each day of the week. 
  • Weekly scheduling uses the same settings throughout the week. 
  • Weekday/weekend scheduling allows you to program one temperature setting for the weekdays and another for the weekend (5/2 day). 5/1/1 thermostats let you create a different setting for Saturday and Sunday. 

    Choose the Temperature Settings

    Once you have your or your family’s schedules jotted down, it’s time to identify the temperatures you’ll set throughout the day. 

    If you aren’t sure where to start, the Department of Energy shares some guidelines to help you determine the best temperatures to maximize your comfort and savings. The best practice is to make the temperature set points for your “Away” or “Sleep” modes around 7 to 10 degrees lower or higher than your “Home” settings. This depends on the time of the year, so you’ll naturally go lower in colder months and higher in warmer months. 

    These details can help you plan the temperature settings you want to program into your thermostat later.

    Input the Schedule

    Now that you know which temperatures to set and when, you can begin programming your thermostat. If your unit allows you to set a weekly schedule, you will only need to input your temperature settings for a 24-hour period once. For the 5/2 and 5/1/1 models, you’ll have to do it twice or three times. 

    Again, this step will depend on your device’s programming options. Still, in most cases, you will start by selecting the day of the week you wish to add settings for and inputting your temperature set points for the different periods throughout that day. If you have a smart thermostat, this can be done using the device’s mobile app. 

    Enable the Schedule 

    Once you’ve set your custom schedule, it’s time to activate it. Most thermostats have a “Save” or “Apply” button to press to do this. Otherwise, see if your unit’s display is showing a “Hold” button – press it to deactivate the hold on the existing settings and let the schedule you inputted take over. 

    With your thermostat now programmed to your lifestyle, you’re on your way to enjoying improved comfort and maximized energy savings. 

    Switch to a Programmable Thermostat With Value Controls

    Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically adjust your temperature settings throughout the day and, ultimately, help you save on heating and cooling costs. The best part? Programming them is fairly simple. Besides the user manual that comes with your unit, plenty of resources on how to program a thermostat are available online. Once you configure your device to your lifestyle needs, you’ll see that its benefits are worth your time and effort. 

    If you still have a traditional rotary thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat today. Shop for programmable and Wi-Fi thermostats at Value Controls, or call us at 1-800-584-9901 for more information.


    Blog posts


    Forgot your password?

    Don't have an account yet?
    Create account