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Programmable Thermostats: Are They Worth It?

Programmable ThermostatProgrammable thermostats are touted to provide big savings on heating and cooling costs, which explains why many homeowners invest in them. But lately, there has been some debate about whether they actually achieve the savings their manufacturers claim.

The truth or hype of programmable thermostat energy savings boils down to whoever is in control of the thermostat, and whether they are using it correctly. Make sure to follow these rules to get the most out of your investment.


  • Calibrate your energy saving temperature set-points for at least eight hours a day. Program your temperature set-point for 10 degrees from the usual set-point at night or when no one is home during the day.
  • Avoid rapid temperature changes. Thermostats work best by being allowed to sense and respond to indoor temperatures; cranking your unit up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees won't help heat or cool your home any faster.
  • Limit the use of manual overrides. Manual overrides are inappropriate for day-to-day control and increase the amount of energy used by your HVAC equipment.
  • Install more than one programmable unit. If you have a large home with zoned heating and cooling, you'll want a unit for each zone to optimize comfort and convenience throughout the house.
  • Install away from heating and cooling sources. Make sure your thermostat is placed in an area that won't cause false temperature readings such as in direct sunlight or near fireplaces, indoor heating equipment, doorways, windows and other areas that could be affected by heat or drafts.
  • Remember to use the “vacation” feature when going away, even for a long weekend. This maintains safe and efficient indoor temperatures without reaching the comfortable norms you set for occupation.
  • If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, make sure to change the batteries every year. Many units indicate when it’s time to change the batteries.

Programmable thermostats range in price from $25 to $230, depending on the brand and features you want. If you use your thermostat properly and conservatively, you could see that money back in energy savings as soon as the first year. As a Nest Elite partner, ARS/Rescue Rooter recommends the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Call ARS/Rescue Rooter at 1-800-277-9400 and set up an appointment with one of our HVAC technicians and they can walk you through different options for programmable thermostats and can even install it for you!

Searching for more knowledge to boost your indoor comfort? Sign up for our email newsletter and you'll receive expert tips and advice from our HVAC & plumbing pros. Plus when you sign-up. you'll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE 50 Gallon Gas or Electric Water Heater!

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