Install a programmable thermostat
When your home is empty, your heating and cooling systems are still using energy to maintain the temperature set on your thermostat. By turning your thermostat back by 7-10°F for eight hours a day, you can save 10% a year on heating and cooling.
Step by step:
- Set your "home-occupied" temperature. The temperature you choose will be determined by your household members' preferences. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 68°F for heating and 78°F for cooling while you are awake at home.
- Set your "away from home" temperature. Setting your home's temperature at least 10°F higher in the summer and 10°F lower in the winter is a good rule of thumb.
- Set your "home" and "away" times. A programmable thermostat can help you save energy whether you're an early bird or a night owl.
- Discuss how the device works. Help other family members understand how the thermostat works to ensure your intended schedule is used.
What to look for:
- Flexibility. Many models allow separate programming for each day of the week. If your schedule is irregular, some units allow you to set awake, asleep, and away settings you can activate simply by pushing a button.
- Number needed. If you have zoned heating or cooling, you may need more than one programmable thermostat.
- Smart features. Thermostats with adaptive recovery can keep track of seasons, maintain your programmed schedule more closely, and maximize savings. Others can learn your schedule without being programmed at all and can make suggestions about how you can save energy. Smart models also have Wi-Fi, which allows you to control it from your phone or computer.
Go the extra mile: To save even more energy, create an "asleep" setting, too. Program your thermostat at least 10°F lower in the winter or 4°F higher in the summer while you're sleeping.