Energy Star has recommended setpoint times and temperatures to maximize energy cost savings. Energy Star recommends four trigger points for both heating and cooling scheduled setpoints. All suggested temperatures are expressed in degrees Fahrenheit.
Start the heating schedule at 6:00 a.m. at 70 degrees F or less. At 8:00 a.m. the setting threshold should be setback at least 8 degrees F going back to the 70 degrees or less at 6:00 p.m.. The final setpoint for heating should be at 10:00 p.m. with a setback of at least 8 degrees F.
The cooling schedule follows the same threshold schedule times of 6:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m.. The wake-up threshold at 6:00 a.m. should be 78 degrees or greater with a setup threshold of at least 7 degrees at 8:00 a.m. In the evening, the threshold should return to 78 degrees or greater until 10:00 p.m. where the setup should be at least 4 degrees.
The setback and setup points change the thermostat sensor points to less optimal room temperatures during periods when family members are less likely to be home. So during a winter day while you are at work, the setback point changes the heating sensor to 62 degrees or less, whereas in the summer cooling periods while you sleep, the sensors turn the air conditioner on at 82 degrees.
Sticking to your settings is a key factor in using programmable thermostats. Turning it up or down manually throughout the day risks altering the settings, requires more energy to continually adjust the room temperature and keeps you from acclimating to the home environment. Get in the habit of keep the home cooler in the winter and using a sweater when inside to help further reduce energy costs.