Easy Guide to Install a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is a practical and effective way to take control of your home’s temperature while maximizing energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, households can save up to 10% annually on heating and cooling costs by utilizing a programmable thermostat. This blog  will provide you with clear and actionable steps to successfully install a programmable thermostat in your home.

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

A programmable thermostat is an electronic device that allows you to automatically adjust the temperature of your home according to a pre-set schedule. It replaces traditional thermostats and provides greater control and flexibility over your heating and cooling system. By programming specific temperature settings for different times of the day, you can optimize energy usage, reduce utility bills, and ensure maximum comfort in your living space.

Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat

  1. Energy Efficiency: One of the primary advantages of a programmable thermostat is its ability to save energy. You can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs by automatically adjusting the temperature when you’re away or asleep. Studies have shown that using a programmable thermostat can lead to energy savings of up to 10% annually.
  2. Cost Savings: With reduced energy consumption comes lower utility bills. By optimizing your heating and cooling patterns, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars each year. The initial investment in a programmable thermostat is quickly offset by the long-term savings it provides.
  3. Enhanced Comfort: Programmable thermostats allow you to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the day. No more waking up to a chilly house or coming home to an overly warm environment. You can pre-set your desired comfort levels and let the thermostat take care of the rest.

Types of Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats offer a range of options to suit different lifestyles and preferences. Understanding the various types of programmable thermostats available can help you make an informed decision when selecting the right one for your home. From flexible scheduling to tailored customization, each type has its unique benefits.

7-Day Programming: This category of thermostat offers the highest level of flexibility. It allows you to program unique temperature settings for each day of the week, catering to diverse schedules and routines. This option proves ideal for households characterized by erratic timetables or individuals seeking maximum customization.

5-2 Programming: Encompassing a more streamlined approach, this thermostat permits you to set a schedule for weekdays and another for weekends. It is ideally suited for individuals or families adhering to regular work or school routines, where the weekend schedule may deviate from weekdays.

5-1-1 Programming: Resembling the 5-2 programming model, this thermostat variant lets you set a schedule for weekdays while providing differentiation between Saturday and Sunday. It confers added flexibility to accommodate weekend activities or preferences.

1-Week Programming: This straightforward thermostat option allows a single schedule to be programmed for the entire week, making it well-suited for those adhering to consistent routines.

Programmable Thermostats vs. Smart Thermostats

When it comes to controlling the temperature in your home, both smart thermostats and programmable thermostats offer advanced features and benefits. However, there are distinct differences between the two. Here are a few key differences between the two to help you decide which one will best fit your needs.

Functionality and Control:

Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperature schedules based on specific times of the day or week. You can pre-program temperature adjustments to align with your daily routines, such as lowering the temperature when you are away from home or asleep and raising it before you wake up or return.

Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats take temperature control to the next level by offering advanced features and connectivity. These devices can be controlled remotely through smartphone apps or web interfaces. Smart thermostats often utilize Wi-Fi or other wireless technologies to communicate with your home’s network, allowing you to adjust settings from anywhere with an internet connection. In addition to scheduling, they often include features like geofencing, learning capabilities, and integration with smart home ecosystems.

Learning Capabilities:

Programmable Thermostats: Traditional programmable thermostats require you to manually set temperature schedules. While they offer flexibility in terms of customization, they do not have the ability to learn from your behaviors or adjust settings automatically.

Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats come equipped with learning capabilities that adapt to your preferences and routines. They employ sensors and algorithms to observe your temperature adjustments, occupancy patterns, and even weather conditions to optimize energy usage and comfort automatically. Over time, smart thermostats can create personalized schedules based on your habits, making temperature control effortless and efficient.

Connectivity and Integration

Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats typically do not offer advanced connectivity options. They rely solely on manual adjustments or pre-set schedules that you program directly on the device.

Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats excel in connectivity and integration. They often integrate with home automation systems, allowing you to control them through voice commands or via smart speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. Many smart thermostats also support integration with other smart devices in your home, such as lighting systems, security systems, and more. This interconnectedness provides a seamless and streamlined home automation experience.

Energy Monitoring and Reporting

Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats generally do not offer detailed energy monitoring features. While they contribute to energy savings through scheduled temperature adjustments, they do not provide real-time data on energy consumption or offer detailed reports.

Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats excel in energy monitoring and reporting. They provide real-time data on your heating and cooling usage, allowing you to monitor and analyze your energy consumption patterns. Additionally, smart thermostats often generate energy reports, offering insights and recommendations to help you optimize energy usage and save money on your utility bills.


Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats are generally more affordable compared to smart thermostats. They offer basic temperature control features and are a budget-friendly option for those seeking energy-saving benefits without advanced connectivity.

Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats tend to be more expensive due to their advanced features, connectivity options, and integration capabilities. However, the long-term energy savings and enhanced comfort they provide can offset the initial cost over time.

How to Install a Programmable Thermostat

Now that you understand the benefits and types of programmable thermostats, let’s move on to the installation process. Follow these easy steps to install your new programmable thermostat:

Step 1: Turn off the Power – Before starting any electrical work, ensure the power to your heating and cooling system is turned off. Locate the circuit breaker panel and switch off the corresponding circuit breaker.

Step 2: Remove the Old Thermostat – Remove your old thermostat’s cover and unscrew it from the wall plate. Take note of the wire connections and label them to ensure proper installation of the new thermostat.

Step 3: Install the New Wall Plate – Position the new wall plate over the existing wiring and secure it to the wall using the provided screws. Make sure it is level and aligned properly.

Step 4: Connect the Wires – Refer to the labels you made earlier and connect the wires to the corresponding terminals on the new thermostat. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific wiring diagram of your thermostat model.

Step 5: Attach the Thermostat – Gently attach it to the wall plate, ensuring it is firmly in place. Turn on the power by flipping the circuit breaker back on.

Step 6: Program the Thermostat – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up your thermostat’s programming schedule. Most programmable thermostats have intuitive interfaces that make programming a breeze.

Step 7: Test and Adjust – After programming, test the thermostat by adjusting the temperature settings. Ensure that the heating and cooling systems respond accordingly. Make any necessary adjustments until you achieve your desired comfort levels.

If you run into any problems while installing, contact a professional like Chas Roberts to help you troubleshoot. Our qualified technicians will ensure that your thermostat installation is seamless, providing your home with maximum comfort.


Installing a programmable thermostat offers numerous benefits, including increased energy efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced comfort. Following the seven simple steps outlined in this guide, you can easily install a programmable thermostat and start living more comfortably in your home.

Family-owned and operated Chas Roberts is the largest HVAC company in Arizona and has been in business for over 75 years.

Contact our Tucson office at 520.549.4172 or our Metro Phoenix office at 602.386.2732.