Programmable thermostats

Let your thermostat do the work for you
If you program your thermostat to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you'll save approximately ten percent on your heating bill.
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Would you like to lower your heating and cooling costs by 10 percent? All you need is a programmable thermostat - it automatically sets back the temperature in your home to preset levels at different times of day.

Setting programmable thermostatHow it works

If you go to bed at 10 p.m., you can program your furnace to automatically change from 70 degrees to 65 degrees at that time.

If you wake up at 6:30 in the morning, you can program the system to increase again at 6 a.m. (great for those cold winter mornings), then go back down to 65 or even lower when you leave the house.

The system works the same way for summer cooling savings - just set it raise the temperature while you're sleeping or away from home to cut air conditioning costs.

The benefits

The feature you might notice first is the convenience - you'll never have to worry about forgetting to turn the thermostat down at night or when you leave the house. It's also a great deterrent to those family members who rush to the thermostat whenever they get a chill.

The benefit you'll appreciate the most is the energy savings. If you program your thermostat to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you'll save approximately ten percent on your heating bill. If you set it back while you're away from home, you'll see an even bigger savings. 

What to look for

When you're shopping for a programmable thermostat, keep an eye out for these features:

  • The ability to store and repeat multiple settings; most offer six settings, including weekday and weekend programs.
  • A manual override to allow you to change the current temperature without affecting the daily or weekly program.
  • A back-up battery to save the program in case of a power outage.
  • An easy-to-read digital display.
  • Temperature accuracy within one degree, plus or minus.
  • Instructions printed on the inside cover, so you don't need the owner's manual for programming.

A good programmable thermostat will cost between $50 and $150, depending on the features you want. You can find less-expensive models, but they might not provide what you need or have the warranty a better model does.


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