For most people, a thermostat is a box on the wall that they visit to turn up temperatures when they’re too cold. But if you have a programmable thermostat and that’s all you’re using it for, you’re missing out on an easy way to save 10 percent or more on your home heating oil bill.
According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, nine out of ten Americans say they’ve rarely (or never) programmed their thermostat because they don’t know how to use it – which is a shame, considering how easy today’s thermostats are to learn and operate.
If you don’t have one, installing a programmable thermostat is a smart move: if you use it correctly, it could pay for itself in energy savings alone the first year you own it – not to mention the wear and tear you’re avoiding on your furnace or boiler.
But how do you use a programmable thermostat correctly? Here are some suggestions.
If you already own a thermostat, first determine if it is a programmable model or simply one you have to adjust manually. If it is a programmable thermostat, it’s helpful to know what kind of flexibility your model offers. Programmable thermostats feature different “modes”, depending on the model you own. Ranked in order here from most to least flexible, these modes include:
If you have a smart thermostat, you can program these modes (and other thermostat features) from your smartphone.
No matter which of these options you own, you will want to customize your thermostat so it works with the way you live. The settings you can control on most programmable thermostats include:
Each thermostat operates a little differently, so you will want to spend a little time perusing the owner’s manual to adjust these settings; considering the money savings, it’s worth the time and effort.
The U.S Department of Energy suggests the following settings for the best balance of comfort and savings:
Used correctly, a programmable thermostat can knock 10 percent on your heating bill month every month. It’s an easy way to save!
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