More than two-thirds of U.S. households with programmable thermostats don’t use the controls to program them, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Only 12% of the 118 million households in the United States have central air conditioning and a programmable thermostat that’s being programmed. https://www.eia.gov/
About one-third of households with central air conditioning don’t have a programmable thermostat.
“Just the presence of a programmable thermostat does not save energy without the appropriate programming,” according to the EIA. Programmable thermostats were removed from the Energy Star program in 2009 because of the concerns over how much energy they were saving. Energy Star continues to offer the guidelines for their proper use.
In the summertime, 45% of households with central air conditioning set the thermostat at one temperature and left it there most of the time, according to the EIA. A total of 26% of households manually adjust the temperature at night or for when no one is home. And, 18% use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust indoor temperatures.
Nearly half of households with window units or portable air conditioners turn them on or off as needed. Only 5% of households with the previous units use a programmable thermostat.
When no one is home, households with central air conditioning and window or portable units keep their homes at 74 degrees on average. Those with window or portable units keep their homes cooler than those with central air conditioning when someone is home or at night.
Only 3% of households use smart thermostats, or learning thermostats. They can set temperatures automatically without the need for someone to do so.