Using a Programmable Thermostat to Save Money

Programmable thermostats can save you a pile of money throughout their lifetime, according to the energy star website you can save up to $180 a year by using an Energy Star thermostat set to the default settings and maintaining them throughout the year.  A programmable thermostat allows you set the temperature in your house to be higher or lower based on the specific time of the day. You can find thermostats which allow you to set programs for all seven days of the week, one program for the week and one for each weekend day (5 + 1+1), and one program for the week and one for the weekend (5+2). recommends at least the following settings for your thermostat:


I set out to find the best bang for my buck and I settled on the LUX TX9000TS (pictured right). This bad thermostatboy has a touchscreen and is a seven day programmable thermostat.  This model additionally tracks the number of hours the system has been on for the month, and has a filter replacement notification.  You can easily override the settings if you need it hotter or cooler in the middle of a program.  The great thing about thermostats is their ease of installation. To hook up my new thermostat all I had to do was, 1.) turn off the power, 2.) remove the old thermostat, and 3.) hook up the new one. My particular model was a four wire system, some are five wire, hooking it up was as easy as pulling the wires off the old and hooking it up to the corresponding position on the new. I use a max temperature of 68 and I set it back to 60 during my off periods.

I won’t enter a complete verdict yet on whether or not I have saved money on this endevor I have seen a slight reduction in my gas usage but the utility estimated my usage last month so it isn’t exact.  Even based on the Energy Star estimates it is going to take me at least 1.5 years to get my money back. Of course you can do a lot better if you only need a 5+2 system. I work from home so I wanted the flexibility to alter it by day. Do you have a programmable thermostat, and if so do you think it has saved you money on your utilities?


1 the weakonomist February 25, 2009 at 8:34 am

I don’t have a programmable, but I do something similar manually. When I leave I turn it way down. When I come home from work it can be quite cold, so I turn it back up and go for a run. When I get back from a run everything is as it should be.

Don’t think of the thermastat as a way to save money (though it will) think of it as an investment to be just a bit greener.

I try to embrace technologies that do both. Something that breaks even after 1.5 years is certainly worth it.

2 thermostat November 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

We connected our web-programmable thermostat to our google calendars, so it knows when we’ll be home and when we’re at work – Works well for keeping our house temps aligned with our schedules!

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