Programmable Thermostat | Best Ways How To Save Electricity and Conserve Energy


There are several actions or ways to conserve electricity related to heating and cooling in your home that can also have a positive effect on your electricity bills. Using a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways how to save electricity and energy overall. Why are programmable thermostats important? Heating and cooling the home represents almost half of the total energy costs in a house, estimated at $1,900 annually.

In addition, these systems emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which contribute to global warming. Therefore pursuing reasonable measures to reduce energy costs has more than one benefit.

The first set of no cost actions relate to simple practices:

  • Wear clothes that are warmer in the winter months (sweaters, etc);
  • If you use ceiling fans, check the rotation to be sure it forces the heat to stay down during the winter;
  • If you are not using it (spare room), close it and decide not to heat it;
  • During the winter months, open your curtains on windows facing south to naturally let the sun heat your home;
  • Make sure your curtains are not blocking air vents or radiators;
  • In the evening, close them to retain the maximum heat within your home. This also reduces the cold chill that can appear near windows;
  • The opposite should take place during summer by closing curtains, shades or outdoor blinds to avoid overheating your home during the day.

These small steps will already allow you to reduce energy costs somewhat.

Now for the more fun part, it requires you to start getting somewhat out of your comfort zone. By turning back the thermostat on your heating, you can save up to 1% of your heating costs for each 1 degree that you decrease. Therefore,

  • When home, adjust your thermostat to the lowest temperature that you still comfortable with.

To maximize the benefit of controlling your heating and cooling energy costs, if you adjust your thermostat in the 10-15F degrees during a period of eight hours per day you can save up to 10% a year in your annual costs.

  • Lower the thermostat by a few degrees when no one is present at home or at night.
This sounds easy enough, so what is standing in your way? Like many other home energy saving tips, if it requires manual (individual) daily invention it is not likely to be followed through on a regular basis. This is not necessarily the case for those of you who are disciplined.

However for myself, I like to pursue solutions that are systematic and less dependent on people to take action.

In this case the best approach would be to install a digital programmable thermostat that will allow you to schedule and regulate the temperature in your home more efficiently (both at night, when you are away).

Will changing a programmable thermostat help with energy costs? You bet...

When used correctly, programmable thermostats will keep you and the family comfortable, help you reduce energy costs and save money throughout the year.

Here is a podcast on the benefits of using a digital programmable thermostat to control the heating and cooling in your home representing one of many ways to conserve energy.

So how do home programmable thermostats help you?

First, they offer you a large degree of flexibility in automatically changing the temperature settings in your home based on household patterns. Essentially, you program the thermostat to modify the heating or air-conditioning to a pre-set schedule therefore benefiting during the entire year. In simple terms, you minimize the operation of equipment when the house in not occupied or when you are asleep at night which helps to reduce energy costs.

Will a digital programmable thermostat save electricity?

The short answer is it should help you conserve electricity depending on your heating and cooling system. For example, imagine you have a central heating7cooling system which circulates warm or cool air through-out the home. This is done by ducts and pushed with a fan or blower. If you regulate correctly the digital programmable thermostat then logically your heating and cooling system will not work as much based on lower or warmer temperature settings. In this case, the electric based fan or blower will also work less and consume less electricity.

How do you choose the correct digital programmable thermostat?

First and foremost you should only purchase those that are ENERGY STAR rating. From there, it is a question of choosing the right scheduling mechanism based on the patterns within the family, such as regular periods that you are away.

7 Day Model – maximum flexibility if you patterns are somewhat different each day.
5+2 Day Model – if your patterns stay the same during the week, change on weekends.
5+1+1 Day Model – more flexibility towards Saturdays and Sunday patters.

Here are two ENERGY STAR digital programmable thermostats, both of which are highly rated.

How do go about programming the thermostat?

You should first consider when you usually go the bed and wake up in the morning. You can program for the temperature to become decrease during the winter just before you go to bed, and increase just prior to waking up. You then will want to consider regular times when your house is unoccupied and adapt the temperature as mentioned above for maximum annual savings.

The US EPA recommends in the winter to set the temperature to drop by 8 F degrees when you're away and when you're sleeping. In the summer, set the temperature to go up by 7 degrees when you're away and 4 degrees when you're sleeping. These provide some indications however it is important that people are still comfortable in the house.

Now you should not forget to adapt your programmed settings when going out of town. Most digital programmable thermostats have options for when you are away for a prolonged period. It is also important to note that programmable thermostats are not appropriate for all types of heating and cooling systems (heat pumps, radiant floor heating, etc). Please do read carefully or ask an HVAC contractor for advice.

Using a programmable thermostat in your home is one of the easiest ways to conserve electricity and energy (great home energy saving tip) that you can follow. Once installed and programmed, you can reduce energy costs and also start conserving electricity in the house as well. After this is put in place, the next step is to install a energy saving light bulbs and a smart power strip or two. Both are great ways how to save electricity, and more importantly, save money on electricity each month. Improving your heating and cooling, lighting and reducing standby power from appliances are three main ways to conserve electricity in the house.


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