A programmable thermostat is one of the simplest ways to save money and energy use.

Thermostats come in three models-

  • 1) 7 day models allow you to set different schedules each day.
  • 2) 5-2-2 models have one schedule for the week day and another for weekends.
  • 3) 5-1-1 models allow you to set one schedule for the weekdays and a separate one for each weekend day.

Even if you have a thermostat it may have been purchased and programmed at a different stage of life. For instance, if you bought a 7-day thermostat when the children were little and home much of the weekend, then you may have it set at a high temperature. If then years have passed and now  the whole family is out much of the weekend at sport events, etc. , you are using maximum heating for an empty home. Changing from a 7 day model to a 5-2 model can still be a significant savings if these are the conditions. recommends that you set back the thermostat 8° for heat from 8am to 6pm and set up the cooling central 7° for the same period. After 10pm, the recommended set back is 7° for heat and set up in 4° for cooling.

In my household, we reduce the heat to 55° each winter evening, a setback of 14°. We use down comforters and wool blankets and I feel we actually sleep better in the cool air.

Before our energy audit we were not too concerned with heating cost because our bills were lower than bills I knew of for comparable size homes in our area. After a full analysis by a Building Performance Institute inspector it was determined that the thermostat was the primary reason for our reasonable bills.

A list of recommended units by Energy Star can be found at: