Programmable thermostats will help you save money on bills.

Programmable thermostats help families save energy in a very efficient way. The units help consumers save money on their utility bills, which include heating and air conditioning costs. They are very affordable and a programmable thermostat will often “pay” for itself in a matter of months.

Numerous studies by many groups, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Reports, show that a programmable thermostat can help households save up to $200 per year on energy bills. This is year in an year out, so the savings accumulate over time. Compare that to the price of buying one of these units, and consider the savings to the fact they only cost about $50 - $100 to purchase.

How does it work?

The systems allow occupants to set their home and/or apartment temperatures according to whether the house is occupied or not, based on the individual’s lifestyle. Programmable thermostats allow the temperature to be set to according to a user's schedule, whether it is for work or some other life event. Some units now are even controlled using apps on cell phones, so the homeowner or renter can easily adjust the temperature right before they get home or as soon a they walk out of the house.

Programmable thermostats automatically store and repeat daily temperature settings, with an option for a manual override if and when it is needed. This override can often be controlled from a cell phone or tablet as well. What this means is that an individual could set a different temperature for different days and even times of the week.

As an example, say you go to work every Monday thru Friday from 8am to 5pm during the winter. You can set your thermostat to 65 degrees during those hours. If you get home from work at 5, you can program the thermostat to be at 72 degrees starting at 4:45 pm. This will ensure your house is not being fully heated when no none is home, yet the house will be warm when you arrive home from work.

By eliminating the manual setback of traditional thermostats, which is easy to forget to do, programmable thermostats allow the ability to set more comfortable temperatures in the morning before occupants wake. The temperature adjustments can be used during both the winter heating season as well as the summer cooling season. Users are allowed to set up multiple daily settings so they do provide significant flexibility.





Examples of savings from programmable thermostats

This grid provides an example of how they can work. The key to saving on your energy bills is to set up a program that will automatically reduce the heating and cooling that occurs in your home when you don’t need it as much. This will result in consumers paying less on their energy bills, whether they are heating or aid conditioning expenses.



Setpoint Temperature (Heat)

Setpoint Temperature (Cool)


6:30 a.m.

≤= 70 F

≥= 78 F


8:30 a.m.

Setback at least 8 F

Setup at least 7 F


6:30 p.m.

≤= 70 F

≥= 78 F


10:30 p.m.

Setback at least 8 F

Setup at least 4 F


Since a thermostat only costs around $50 to buy and install and can save you about $200 per year, they pay for themselves in a matter of weeks. While many newly built homes or apartments may use them by default, most older homes do not have these programmable thermostats installed. Anyone that lives in one of these older homes should strongly consider investing in one, especially considering the rate of return on them in the form of savings on monthly utility bills. They tend to be easy to install, and in fact some utility companies will often help one of their customer install as well as part of an overall energy conservation program.

The units are a very cost effective way to save money and also conserve energy. The key is to learn how to use it and program it correctly, as unfortunately some of the thermostats are not as user friendly as others. So you anyone looking to save money should buy a programmable thermostat in order to save a substantial amount of money on your home energy bills.



By Jon McNamara

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