How to Program a Honeywell Digital Thermostat

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If you have a programmable digital thermostat, there's a very good chance it's a Honeywell model. The leading maker of thermostats, Honeywell offers dozens of different models, ranging from very simple styles that allow you to set a single automated program that's the same every day to elaborate touch-screen models that make it possible to set a different group of automatic temperature adjustments for each day of the week.


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The advantage of programmable thermostats is now well known to almost everyone. By automating the process of turning down the temperature at night or when you're away from the house, you can enjoy energy savings that range from 10 to 30 percent.

Identifying Programmable Thermostats

While a great many (maybe most) thermostats made by Honeywell are now digital programmable models, there are still simple models that allow you to raise, lower and set temperatures without any automation. The range of options makes it easier to find the right thermostat for your home, but determining if yours is actually a programmable model isn't always easy.


For many Honeywell thermostats, the presence of a push-button "Prog" or "Set" key is the giveaway that the thermostat is programmable. Those that aren't programmable have nothing to set, and so they're missing this button. The photos here show the difference between a typical non-programmable thermostat and one that can be programmed.


On the very latest models, you may find no buttons at all, but instead there is a touch-screen feature in which you'll read the "set" command in the screen itself.



A word about terminology: A thermostat labeled as "ONE WEEK PROGRAMMABLE" means that there is only one program you can set — each day of the week will follow the same pattern of temperature adjustments. If the model is labeled "5-2," it can be programmed for two separate cycles: one for the five-day workweek, and another for the two-day weekend. If the thermostat is labeled, "5-1-1" there are three programs possible: one for weekdays, one for Saturday and another for Sunday. And finally, "Seven-day Program" means that each day of the week can be programmed individually.

Here are some popular Honeywell thermostat models and their functions. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does demonstrate the diversity available. It's likely that your home thermostat is closely related to one of these:

Non-Programmable Thermostat Models

  • Pro 5000 series​ (TH5110D, TH5320U, TH5220D): Non-programmable thermostats with digital screens.
  • RTH5100B:​ A premium non-programmable thermostat with a digital screen.


Programmable Thermostat Models

  • Honeywell RTH221B:​ A basic one-week programmable offering one program.
  • Honeywell RTHL2310B​: A basic 5-2 thermostat offering two programs.
  • Honeywell RTH6450D:​ A 5-1-1 thermostat offering three programs.
  • Honeywell RTH2510B1018​: A seven-day programmable thermostat with digital screen.
  • Honeywell RTH7560E:​ A seven-day programmable model with touch-screen controls.
  • Honeywell RTH8580WF:​ A seven-day programmable model with Wi-Fi connectivity.


Setting a Honeywell Programmable Thermostat

Because there are many variations in thermostat styles, it's impossible to describe the programming process for each and every one of them. However, they all follow much the same process, so it should be an easy matter to interpret the following thermostat instructions, even if your model doesn't exactly match.


These instructions are based on the Honeywell RTH6450D1009 5-1-1 thermostat, but virtually all Honeywell thermostats are programmed using a process that's similar, if not identical.


The first step in any programming, whether you recently replaced your thermostat or just never programmed it from the start, is to make sure the time and date are set correctly. If they're not, there is no way the thermostat can function correctly.

Step 1: Set the Time

Push the SET button until the time or day display begins to flash on the screen. Then use the arrow buttons to adjust the time up or down until the correct time of day is displayed. Press the DONE button to lock this time into the thermostat.


NOTE: On some thermostats, pressing the SET key a second time is what locks the time into the thermostat.

Step 2: Set the First Program

  1. Press the SET key, then press the key labeled "SET SCHEDULE." (On some thermostats, you press the SET key several times to toggle through the various functions on the thermostat.)
  2. Press the UP and DOWN arrow keys until the display flashes to the MON-FRIDAY WAKE display; then press NEXT.
  3. Use the UP and DOWN arrow keys to set the time you generally wake up during the Monday to Friday workweek. When the proper time is set, press NEXT.
  4. Now use the UP and DOWN arrow keys to set the temperature you desire for that weekday wake-up time. When the correct temperature is displayed, press the NEXT button to lock in that temperature and move on to the next time period.
  5. Use the UP and DOWN arrow keys and the NEXT button to lock in times, then temperatures, for the next periods of the program: Leave, Return and Sleep. This four-temperature program is standard on most programmable thermostats.

Step 3: Set the Next Program

Upon locking in the last temperature period for Monday to Friday, pressing the NEXT key will activate the next program available on your thermostat. For our thermostat, this is the Saturday program. Program this in the same fashion (see step 2), and repeat until all programs are set. This may be only one additional program for a 5-2 thermostat or as many as six more for a seven-day thermostat.

Step 4: Completing the Program and Making Adjustments

A simple press of the DONE button locks in the program and closes the setup menu. If you've made an error in the initial programming, or if your schedule changes and you need to adjust the program, the process is simple:

Press the SET SCHEDULE button; then toggle through the menu options by using the NEXT button and UP/DOWN arrow keys to toggle through the functions and make new settings. For example, let's imagine that you want to change both the time for waking and the temperature for that time of day. The key press sequence would look like this:

  2. UP or DOWN arrow keys until WAKE period begins to flash on the screen.
  3. UP or DOWN arrow keys until new wake time you desire is displayed.
  4. NEXT.
  5. UP or DOWN arrow keys until the desired temperature is displayed.
  6. DONE (on some models, you may need to toggle through the other time periods and programs before the DONE key displays).

Step 5: Overriding the Program

What happens if you stay home from work some day, for example, and don't want the thermostat program to send the temperature down to 60 degrees? Just press the arrow keys until the desired temperature is displayed on the screen. Your thermostat will display the word "TEMPORARY" on the screen, and the thermostat will then hold the temperature at that level until the next time the schedule changes and takes back control of your system. At the point where you want to resume the program, just hit the RUN SCHEDULE button.

Another way to override the program is to press the HOLD button, which will tell the thermostat to hold the temperature at the current level until you deactivate it.