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With heating and cooling accounting for the biggest portion of your energy consumption – approximately $1,000 annually, a programmable thermostat is one of the most economical and easiy ways to save energy, money and combat global warming. It can save money on both heating and cooling – from 20-75% on heating and 15-25% on cooling, amounting to approximately $180 a year when programmed and utilized properly and depending on where you live and the settings you choose. Almost all newer homes come equipped with one. Even if you live in an older home, performing the upgrade yourself is a fairly easy task.

Programmable thermostats are available in three different models – 7 day, 5+2 day and 5+1+1 day. 7-day thermostats are ideal for those whose schedule changes regularly. They allow you to program each day differently, with up to 4 temperature periods per day.

5+2 day thermostats allow users to set 1 schedule for weekdays, and another for weekends, while 5+1+1 day thermostats allow users to program 1 schedule for weekdays, one for Saturdays and one for Sundays.

In addition to the above models, thermostats can be equipped with a variety of different features including digital backlit displays, touch pad screen programming, voice and/phone programming, hold/vacation features, as well as a variety of indicators to inform you of errors or take maintenance measures.

The best programmable thermostats on the market bear the ENERGY STAR label. Each ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat comes pre-programmed with 4 settings and is able to maintain those settings to within 2 degrees. The intention is to deliver savings to their users without sacrificing comfort. Homeowners can use the preprogrammed settings or adjust them to suit their own situation. When trying to save energy, the rule of thumb is that you can save 2% on your heating bill for each degree set back over an 8 hour duration.

Discover other ways to save money and energy by using the tips and calculators located below.

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 Thermostat Tips
Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
When buying new, look for ENERGY STAR products to ensure optimal energy savings.
Turn thermostat temperature down at appropriate times
Programmable thermostats can adjust the temperature for various times of the day, days of the week and even times of the year. Program your thermostat to a lower temperature for when you sleep, when you are gone during the day and to change with the seasons.
Put on a sweater or use a blanket
Turn your thermostat down a degree or two and put on a cozy sweater or get under a warm blaket. Better yet, invest in an electric blanket or curl up in front of an energy efficient fireplace.