Programming a thermostat by setting up a schedule is one of the best ways to make energy savings, while also maintaining comfort in your home.
You can stick to the default schedule or create a custom one for the week based on your temperature habits and daily routine.
So in the guide below, I’ll show you step-by-step how to program your Sensi, White Rodgers, and Emerson thermostats.
Programming a White Rodgers/Emerson Thermostat
If your White Rodgers or Emerson thermostat model number has “PR” at the end, it’s definitely a programmable thermostat.
In the case of these models, you can either set up a custom schedule separately for the weekdays and weekends or set up a fixed schedule for the entire week.
These schedules can be customized to create your own heating and cooling preferences, based on up to four different periods per day.
Mobile app to remotely control Sensi smart thermostats
For the Sensi lineup of smart thermostats, the best way to program the schedule is via the Sensi app.
So if you have one of these models, I highly recommend setting it up with the Sensi app.
- Sensi Touch Smart
- Sensi Smart Thermostat
- Sensi Touch 2 Smart
- Sensi Lite Smart
Sensi App: Enter the Scheduling Menu on the App
- Open the app and select your thermostat.
- After that, tap on the “Schedule” icon at the bottom (represented by a calendar).
- You can have the option to select the type of schedule: these options can be “Fixed Schedule,” “Geofencing,” and “No Schedule.”
- To program a fixed schedule, select the option from the app and tap on “Edit Schedule.”
- You'll have three different schedule modes based on your available system modes: Cool, Heat, and Auto schedules.
- To edit each schedule, simply tap on the info button at the right (represented by an “i” button).
- A group of days (usually it's got two sets: weekdays and weekends) and scheduled setpoints will open up.
- Here, you can tap on “Add Event” to create a new event and configure it as necessary.
In step 4, you might also see the option for “Early Start.” This feature allows the thermostat to power the HVAC equipment in advance so it achieves the target temperature at the designated start time.
Sensi App: Edit or Create a Scheduled Event
- Whenever you create a new schedule or group of days, the Sensi app will create a basic schedule with the default events.
- The list of events displays the desired temperature alongside the time. Here, you can tap on each setpoint to adjust it or tap on “Create Event” to set up a new setpoint.
- When you click on an existing setpoint, or create one from scratch, you can scroll the time wheel and use the + and – buttons to adjust the temperature.
- For the “Auto” schedule, you'll have the option to set up two temperatures, one for cooling and the other for heating.
- To delete the current setpoint, simply tap on “Delete Event.”
- After you're finished editing a setpoint, click on “Done,” at the upper right, to save your changes
- To cancel your changes, tap on “Cancel” at the upper left.
Sensi App: Create a New Group of Days
- If you want to create a new group of days, you can simply tap on “Create New Day Group.”
- A new group will open up with default scheduled events.
- You can then highlight the days you want to include in this group.
- To delete a day group, tap on the red trash can icon at the upper right of the day group.
- To return to the list of system mode schedules, tap on “save” at the upper right.
- To exit the schedule menu, select “Done” at the top left.
Please note, you can't overlap days with another day group. So if you create a new day group for the weekend with Saturday and Sunday, the only days remaining for a new day group are only the weekdays Mon-Fri.
Manual Feature: Armchair Programming
If you have an older thermostat or prefer to configure things directly at the device, you can manually program the schedule via the thermostat display itself.
However, this can become tiresome, especially when you have to stand in front of the thermostat.
To remedy this, certain models of White Rodgers/Emerson thermostats have a feature called “Armchair programming”.
With this, you can easily take out the thermostat from the wall mount, find somewhere comfortable, and take as much time as you want, programming it as desired.
So if the thermostat runs on batteries and doesn’t shut down when you take it out of the wall mount, it’s certainly “armchair programmable.”
Sensi Touch Smart
Smart thermostat with touchscreen
To program your Sensi Touch Smart directly from the thermostat display:
- Disconnect your Sensi Touch from Wi-Fi:
- Open the menu, tap on “Wi-Fi” and toggle the “Enable Wi-Fi” switch to the off position.
- After that, return to the menu and tap on “Schedule.”
- Toggle the “Schedule” option and switch it to the on position (if it wasn’t already).
- Select the group of days you want to adjust, whether that’s weekdays or weekends.
- Then, select the time period you want to customize. You can choose four setpoints called “Wake,” “Leave,” “Return,” and “Sleep.”
- You can use the up and down arrows to adjust the temperatures and start times.
- Then, tap on “Save” to confirm your setpoint or “Cancel” as necessary.
- After that, return to the list of setpoints by tapping on the back arrow at the upper left.
- You can start to edit any other setpoints or return to the main menu.
Sensi Smart Thermostat
Programmable Wi-Fi thermostat
The Sensi smart thermostat doesn’t allow you to create a schedule using the display if you’ve enabled Wi-Fi and have created a schedule via the Sensi app.
So if you don’t want to rely on the app’s schedule, you can set your own after disabling the Wi-Fi on the thermostat.
- Start by turning off the Wi-Fi:
- Press the “Menu” button and keep tapping the “Next” button until the top of the screen reads: “Wireless Setup,” with a flashing “On.”
- Then, use the up and down arrows to toggle this to “Off” and press “Exit” to save changes.
- Then, switch to the system mode you want to adjust the schedule to, be it “Heat” or “Cool.”
- Then, hold the “Schedule” button until the time display (at the top) starts blinking.
- This setting is for the time, so press “Next” to skip this and advance to the scheduling menu.
- The display will change to a “1”. This indicates the first setpoint/time period (usually out of four)
- The target temperature will show up at the right, and the start time for this setpoint will be indicated at the top (where the time display would be).
- The start time will start flashing, indicating that it’s the current selection.
- You can then use the up and down arrows to adjust the start time for the indicated setpoint number.
- Then, press the “Next” button. The target temperature will start flashing instead.
- Now, you can use the up and down arrows to adjust the target temperature for this setpoint.
- Then, press “Next.” The setpoint number will change to the second setpoint.
- You can then follow the same steps to adjust the start times and target temperatures. Don’t forget that the flashing digits indicate the current selection.
- To confirm and save your changes, tap on “Exit.”
- Then, to make sure the schedule is running, return to the home screen and make sure the schedule setting is switched to the On position. (If not, tap on “Schedule” to toggle it).
Emerson Blue Series 12″ Touchscreen
Programmable thermostat with touchscreen
For the Blue Series models, you can set up the schedule type and adjust the schedule via the thermostat itself.
For most models, the available schedule types are:
Select the Schedule Type
From the thermostat's display:
- Tap on “Menu.”
- Tap and hold “Installer Config” for five seconds or until the display changes.
- Then, using the up and down arrows at the top right, adjust the value, at the upper right, until it reads “4”
- After that, use the left and right arrows at the top left to adjust the schedule type, this displays “7” for the seven-day, “5” and “0”.
- To confirm your changes, tap on “Run Schedule” at the bottom right.
Program the Schedule
- From the thermostat's home screen, tap on “Set Schedule.”
- Then, tap on the “System” mode, at the mid-left, to select the heating or cooling mode you’re going to make changes to.
- The day you're programming will be displayed at the top left, while the scheduled period name will be displayed next to the up and down temperature adjustment arrows.
- Use the up and down arrow keys to adjust your target temperature for each period. The desired temperature will be displayed above these arrow buttons.
- Then, use the left and right arrows (on the left side of the screen) to adjust the start time for each period. Note that these are set up in 15-minute increments.
- If you want the fan to follow the schedule as well, tap on the fan controls (at the bottom left) and toggle to “Prog”.
- Then, tap on “Set Schedule” to switch to the next programmable period.
- Follow the above steps to adjust the time, temperature, and fan controls for each period.
- To switch to the next day, tap on “Advance Day” at the bottom left. The name of the weekday will change at the top accordingly.
- Adjust the schedule for each day as necessary and tap on “Run schedule” to save your changes.
Emerson Blue Series 6″
Programmable and non-programmable thermostats
For this model, you have the option to adjust the number of setpoints/time periods and then program the schedule.
Adjust the Number of Programmable Events
The Blue Series 6″ models come with a default schedule that only supports two time periods per day.
You can configure this to include four events in the configuration menu. Here's how:
- Press and hold the physical button next to “Menu” for about 5 seconds or until the display changes.
- After that, keep tapping the Menu button until the big text in the display reads “PS.”
- Then, use the up arrow button (temperature increase button) to change the number of programmable events.
- This will change the small number at the top to either “2” or “4” with the available modes lighting up as “Morn,” “Day,” “Eve,” and “Night.”
- After adjusting to the appropriate number, tap on the button assigned to “Run” to save changes.
After setting this up, you can start to program the scheduled times and temperatures.
Program the Schedule
- Select the buttons assigned to “Heat” or “A/C” to switch to the appropriate system mode for your schedule.
- Then, tap on the “Menu” button. The menu options will show up.
- Here, press the button assigned to “Sched.” This is the button at the lower right, below the temperature adjustment buttons.
- The display will change, showing all the necessary information for the scheduling, along with the temperature setpoint value blinking to indicate the current selection.
- When the setpoint temperature is blinking, you can use the up and down arrows to adjust the setpoint temperature.
- Then, to adjust the start time, you can tap on “Time.” This will stop the setpoint temperature from blinking and the start time will start to blink.
- Here, you can use the up and down arrows to change the start time for the displayed event in 15-minute increments.
- To switch to the next time period/event, tap on the “Sched” button. The screen will then display the name of the appropriate time period (Morn, Day, Eve, and Night).
- To move over to the next day, also displayed at the top left of the display (as “Mon, Tue, Wed”, etc..), simply keep pressing the “Sched” button.
- 10. To save your changes, press the button assigned to “Run.”
Emerson Blue Series 2″
To program the thermostat:
- First, toggle the system mode switch to either “Heat” or “Cool”
- Then, press the “PRGM” button.
- The display will change, indicating the days of the week, time, program period number, and setpoint temperature.
- If the weekdays Mon-Fri are displayed, you are currently programming the schedule for the weekdays. After setting up each time period, you will have the option to customize the weekend. (Represented then, by “Sat” and “Sun.”)
- The setpoint temperature will start to blink, indicating that it's the current selection. Use the up and down arrows to set the temperature to this scheduled period.
- To adjust the time, press the “TIME” button and the start times will start flashing instead.
- Similarly, you can use the up and down arrows to adjust the start times (in 15-minute increments).
- Press “TIME” to confirm and return to temperature adjustment.
- Press “PRGM” to move to the next period, the main number will change (between 1,2,3,4).
- Follow the previous steps to customize the setpoint temperatures and start times for each of these periods.
- After setting up the 4th time period, press “PRGM” to start customizing the weekend schedule. In certain models, Sat and Sun may be separated from each other.
- Again, follow the above steps to set up the schedule for these days.
- Once everything is set up, press on “RUN/HOLD” to exit the scheduling menu and save your changes.
White Rodgers Classic 70 and 80 Series
- First, toggle the system to either “heat” or “cool” to program the schedule that's specific to that system.
- Press the “PRGM” button.
- The display will change, lighting up all five weekdays, indicating the start time, setpoint temperatures, and system mode.
- Here, the setpoint temperature will start flashing, indicating it's the current selection.
- Use the up and down buttons to adjust the temperature setpoint.
- Then, press the “TIME” button to start programming the start times. As before, you can use the up and down arrows to adjust the start time for each period.
- After customizing the time, press “TIME” again to return.
- Then, press “PRGM” to switch to the next time period.
- Repeat the above steps to customize the temperature and start times as necessary.
- After customizing all four time periods, press “PRGM” again to switch over to the weekend.
- Then, the weekday display will read “SA SU” instead of MO-FR.
- Adjust temperature and start times as necessary for all four time periods on the weekend.
- Finally, to save changes, press the “RUN” button.
Unlike recent models, this thermostat usually won't indicate which time period you are programming. In that case, I recommend keeping track of the time period via the start times or writing down the schedule adjustments as you go along. These models have four time periods.
White Rodgers 70 Series Thermostats
- First, assign the system switch to either “Heat” or “Cool.”
- Then, press the “Program” button.
- The display will change, with multiple weekdays getting highlighted and the start time will start flashing .
- Use the up and down arrows to change the start time.
- To switch to adjust the temperature, press the “Program” button. Now the temperature will start flashing.
- 6. Use the up and down arrows to adjust as necessary.
- To switch to the next time period, press “Program.” The “P1” displayed on the screen will change, according to the number of the time period.
- Configure start times and temperatures as necessary.
- Then, cycle through all four time periods (P1, P2, P3, and P4) and press “Program” to switch from weekdays to the weekend.
- To save your changes, press the “Run/Hold” button.
Depending on your model, the weekends may be separated as “Sat” and “Sun.” So always keep track of the information that's shown up on the display.
White Rodgers 80 Series
- First, select the heating or cooling mode by toggling the system switch.
- After that, tap on the “Menu” button.
- Then, the display will change, with the “Schedule” label flashing on the display.
- Press “Next” or the Menu button right next to it, to enter this menu.
- The display will change again, highlighting the days of the week, setpoint temperature, time, schedule period, and system mode.
- Here, you can press “Exit” or the button right below it anytime to save the existing changes and return to the home screen.
- Also, the start time will start flashing here, indicating that it's the current selection.
- Then, use the up and down arrows to set the start time for the allotted schedule period.
- After that, press “Next” or the “Menu” button to start adjusting the temperature (using the up and down arrow buttons).
- Press “Next” to switch to the next schedule period.
- Repeat the above steps to adjust temperatures and start times as desired for all four periods.
- “Sat” will show up next to indicate programming for Saturday. Follow the above steps to program this.
- Follow the same steps for “Sun.”
- When all the days and schedule periods are covered, you can press “Next” again to confirm changes.
- The thermostat will display “End” for a couple of seconds and return to the home screen.
These models usually have two periods set up, along with the option to reconfigure it to four distinct time periods.
Programming a schedule onto a White Rodgers/Emerson thermostat helps integrate your daily routine and temperature habits into the device, letting you automate all the day-to-day stuff so you don’t have to return to the thermostat every time.
On top of that, it helps you save more energy without sacrificing overall comfort.
So be sure to check the above guides on how to program your thermostat manually, and if possible, try programming it via the mobile app.