There are tons of little ways to save money just with your thermostat, but your best bet for heating and cooling efficiency, as well as for saving money, is switching to a programmable thermostat.

There are tons of little ways to save money just with your thermostat, but your best bet for heating and cooling efficiency, as well as for saving money, is switching to a programmable thermostat.

Saving with Settings

You can save a significant amount of money every month just be resetting your thermostat at specific times, like when you’re sleeping or out of the house. With a programmable thermostat, you can do this automatically so you don’t have to remember to set it or even think about it once it’s set!

Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings—six or more temperature settings per day. You can also manually override any setting, without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program you’ve set up.

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling, just by turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees from the normal setting for eight hours a day. Of course, achieving this percentage of savings just from setback is better for buildings in milder climates as opposed to those in more severe climates.

You can easily save money in the winter by setting your thermostat to a comfortable temperature while you’re awake, but setting it lower while you’re sleeping (since you generally feel warmer while asleep, plus you have warm bedding) or when you’re away from home. You can achieve the same effect in the summer, too, by turning the temperature up when you leave. Essentially, the closer the temperature inside is to the temperature outside, the less your overall bill will be.

One of the best and most effective features of a programmable thermostat is that you can set the times yourself. You know when you’ll be home on your schedule, so you can set the thermostat to return to a comfortable temperature before you get home. It may sound like a small thing, but it’s much better than coming home, changing the thermostat, and having to wait for a comfortable temperature—and you’ll still be saving money. You can do the same thing with sleeping and waking up, so you always wake up comfortable.

Do yourself a favor and avoid overcompensating for extreme temperatures. Setting your thermostat to a much colder temperature than normal will not cool your house any faster—you’ll only be wasting money!

It’s a common misconception that a furnace will work harder than normal to warm your space back to a comfortable temperature. In reality, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. So the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat in the summer—a higher temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on your air conditioning.


Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. While in cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioning unit (so turning up the thermostat will save energy and money). While in heating mode, though, the thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently. This will cancel out any potential savings achieved by lowering the temperature. Generally with a heat pump, maintaining a moderate setting is the most-cost effective way to save money.

There are some companies that have begun selling programmable thermostats specifically designed for heat pumps that use algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits, and few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

Steam heating and radiant floor heating systems typically don’t work as well with programmable thermostats, because of their slow response time—but again, some manufacturers are starting to offer thermostats specifically for these systems.

Choosing the Right Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of both. Digital thermostats offer the widest variety of features, like multiple setback settings, overrides, adjustments for daylight savings time, etc., although these may be difficult to program. Electromechanical thermostats often involve pegs or sliding bars that are very simple to program.

Programming your new thermostat to your schedule may take some trial and error, but you can figure out exactly when it should start cooling down or heating up your home for maximum comfort all hours of the day.

For expert installation and maintenance for your programmable thermostat, contact Climatemp today!

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