Programmable Thermostats and Energy Saving Advice from The Home Depot

October 4, 2008

High energy prices are causing many people to look more closely at how much money they spend on heating and cooling their home.  The good news is that there are usually relatively minor things you can do to make your home or appartment more energy efficient, saving on your heating and cooling bill.  The bad new is that not all of us are handy with home improvement matters so we may be ignoring or overlooking them due to lack of knowledge.

Help from Home Depot Energy Experts

The energy experts over at the Home Depot have offered to come to the rescue and answer energy related questions that could help cut your heating and cooling costs.  I’ll publish their advice on programmable thermostats, attic fans, window treatments, and other energy saving tips over the coming days. If you have questions of your own send them to me via my contact form and I’ll pass them along.  Here’s a little about the guys who will be answering our questions.

Bob Jurecic is the Home Depot’s “Attic Fanatic”, an energy and insulation expert full of tips on home improvement projects and products that can help save energy and reduce costs. Ron Jarvis is the Senior VP of Environmental Innovation at the Home Depot. Ron is responsible for leading The Home Depot’s overall environmental sustainability practices and policies, with an emphasis on making The Home Depot the world leader in offering green building products to consumer and pro customers.

Programmable Thermostat Savings

Question: I’ve heard varying pieces of advice on the value of turning up the thermostat when you leave for the day or go to sleep at night to help save on heating and cooling costs. Would you recommend installing a programmable thermostat to help regulate the temperature during different times of the day and week? If so, are there any specific brands or models that you’d recommend?

A programmable thermostat is a great investment for every home – it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring down your energy bill. A programmable thermostat monitors the temperature in your home while you’re asleep or away. I recommend a product such as the Rite Temp 7 Day Programmable Thermostat, which is ENERGY-STAR qualified and costs just $99. It offers temperature programming for every day of the week. The Rite Temp Flush Mount Thermostat is another great option. It appears flush with the wall when mounted and has a touch screen.

Just remember – the most important step in installing a programmable thermostat is actually programming it! The new programmable thermostat won’t have any effect on your energy bills if you keep it set at the same temperature throughout the day like your old thermostat, so learn to use it right away. It’s suggested that you set the thermostat to an average of 68 degrees in the winter months and 78 degrees during the summer.

It’s easy to program the thermostat. Most models allow you to program the thermostat to change the set point at any time during the day and will automatically adjust to your desired temperature. For example, during winter months, you can set the thermostat to keep your house cooler while you’re at work and to warm up when you arrive home. Programmable thermostats are estimate to save about two percent on heating bills and more than three percent on cooling bills for each degree difference. These numbers will translate into cost savings of up to $180 a year.

You can use The Home Depot’s energy calculator at to project your energy savings by installing a programmable thermostat in your home.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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