5 Ways You’re Setting Your Thermostat Wrong

Our thermostats are crucial components of our HVAC systems. Without the thermostat set correctly and operating efficiently, our air conditioners can’t function the way we need them to on the hottest summer days.

If you still have a manual thermostat, your options for precise temperature control throughout the day are limited. However, even a programmable thermostat can’t work the way it’s designed to if it’s not set correctly, wasting energy and costing you money.

Here are five ways you may be setting your thermostat wrong:

  1. Leaving your thermostat set to the same temperature all the time.

A programmable thermostat allows you to set precise temperatures throughout the day. If you leave it set to the same temperature all the time, you’re missing out on a significant benefit of having a programmable unit.

You can set the temperature higher during the day when you’re at work, so your air conditioner isn’t running unnecessarily when no one is home. Unlike a manual thermostat, once programmed, you never need to worry about forgetting to adjust the temperature on a programmable thermostat before you leave.

If your thermostat is set to the same temperature all the time, you’re shortening the life of your air conditioner and wasting money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the smaller the temperature difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your cooling bills.

Recommended Temperature Settings

In summer, the Department of Energy recommends the following thermostat settings for maximum energy efficiency:

78 degrees F when home during the day

85 degrees F when away from home

82 degrees F when sleeping

You’ll see savings on your summer energy bills by programming these temperatures into your programmable thermostat rather than having the same temperature setting all the time.

  1. Installing your thermostat in the wrong location.

Although you may have programmed your temperature settings correctly, the location of your thermostat affects how it operates.

If your thermostat is installed in the wrong location in your home, it will not be able to get accurate temperature readings, and the temperature may never feel as comfortable as it should.

Here are some tips for choosing the ideal place in your home for your thermostat:

  • Choose an interior wall in a central area of your home.
  • Keep the thermostat away from places with extreme temperatures, such as windows, doors, or air vents.
  • Don’t install your thermostat in the kitchen, where temperatures can be higher than in the rest of your home due to cooking.
  • Avoid installing the thermostat in direct sunlight, as it may give inaccurate temperature readings that cause your air conditioner to run unnecessarily.
  • Keep the thermostat away from heat sources such as lamps, appliances, and televisions.
  • Install your thermostat in a frequently used room so the temperature readings are accurate.

The pros at Chas Roberts can help you choose the best location in your home for your thermostat.

  1. Turning down the temperature setting on your thermostat to make your air conditioner cool your home faster.

Setting the temperature lower than desired so your air conditioner will cool your home more quickly doesn’t work and wastes money in energy costs.

You can set your programmable thermostat to start cooling your home before you arrive and program desired temperatures as needed throughout the day.

If you believe your home isn’t getting to the desired temperature, you may need your thermostat checked and professionally recalibrated.  Another advantage of programmable thermostats is that they can be recalibrated, while manual thermostats cannot.

If your programmable thermostat has WiFi capability and your home has a good WiFi connection, you can remotely adjust your thermostat from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop for even more precise control.

Programming your thermostat to match your schedule is far more effective for achieving a comfortable temperature in your home than setting the thermostat lower than the desired temperature.

It’s also more energy-efficient.

  1. Setting the fan on your thermostat to ‘On’ instead of ‘Auto.’

‘On’ and ‘Auto’ are the thermostat settings that control the blower, the part of your HVAC system that circulates cooled or heated air throughout your home.

If you set the fan to ‘On,’ it will run continuously, even when the room has reached the desired temperature.  When the blower is constantly running, there’s more wear and tear on the system, and your energy costs will be higher.

The ‘Auto’ setting runs the blower only when your HVAC system is heating or cooling air.  So, when the air conditioner stops running, the blower does too when you set the fan on your thermostat to ‘Auto.’

Double-check your fan thermostat setting to ensure you’ve set it to ‘Auto.”

  1. Turning your air conditioner off completely when you leave.

Turning your air conditioner off when you’re away will only cause it to work harder to cool your home when you return.  In our brutally hot Arizona summers, that’s a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the system.

Programmable thermostats have a setback feature to raise and lower temperature settings at different times based on your needs.

Your programmable thermostat can store multiple daily temperature settings that you can manually override when necessary, without affecting the rest of the programming.

You can avoid turning off your air conditioner by precisely programming temperatures and times. Raising the temperature settings on your thermostat when you leave is preferable to turning the unit off.

You’ll achieve energy efficiency and won’t overwork your unit on the hottest days.


Your thermostat plays an essential role in your comfort within your home.

Your thermostat, set correctly, can save you money and lessen the wear and tear on your HVAC system but program it incorrectly, and you’ll waste energy and money.

Thermostat technology has advanced rapidly in recent years.  It’s worth taking the time to understand all your programmable thermostat features and make the best use of them.

Chas Roberts is the largest and oldest residential HVAC company in the Valley and has been family-owned and operated for over 75 years. Contact us for affordable quality service.