Does a Programmable Thermostat Save Money?

Whether you are fighting off the heat waves of summer or the cold drafts in the midst of a harsh winter, one thing is certain – a good thermostat can make all the difference to the temperature and comfort of your home or office. A great thermostat allows you to keep your home’s temperature within comfortable parameters. The right thermostat will also have a noticeable impact on your energy bill. Let’s have a look at programmable thermostats and whether they save us money compared to the other options available.

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

Essentially, we need to know the difference between a programmable thermostat and other types of thermostats that are available on the market. If you haven’t changed your device in more than a decade, you might want to consider switching your current manual thermostat to a programmable one.

A manual thermostat is the simplest out there – all you need to do is manually turn it on, off, and adjust the temperature. The main drawback of this thermostat is the reason why we are here right now – manual thermostats do not have any energy-saving features.

Here is where programmable thermostats come in. They are more advanced as they can automatically adjust the temperature in your house during the day and the night. You can program them for a wide variety of purposes. For instance, if you work 9 to 5, you can schedule your thermostat to turn off during those times to save energy.

You can then set it to turn back on automatically when you are home or on your way from work. All these changes occur without you having to touch the programmable thermostat physically. Additionally, some models can even be set up to accommodate those days of the year when it is freezing cold at night, yet hot during the day – no need to adjust the settings manually during the night.


How do They Work?

This answer can easily become technical and complicated – yet, we will steer away from specs and how manufacturers design such devices. It is worthwhile to mention that there are a wide variety of programmable thermostats out there.

Manufacturers are creating products that are more technologically advanced by the day and are in a harsh competition in which the most creative and innovative one wins. This leads to smart thermostats – similar to programmable thermostats, but they use an internet connection to allow you to control them remotely from your phone despite your physical location, or allow you to override the program you set if you will get home late or early.

When you have a programmable thermostat, whether smart or not, you can set up your temperature preferences according to days of the week and time periods within a day. For instance, you can program lower temperatures during the day and higher at night, or vice versa, whichever suits your needs. After you schedule it, there is no need to worry about it anymore – the thermostat will adjust the temperature according to your settings and requires no further input from you.

So, Can I Save Money With a Programmable Thermostat?

If you mean in terms of device price – well, no. They are obviously more expensive than manual, traditional ones, but programmable thermostats do lower your energy bill. Studies showed that even a basic programmable thermostat could reduce your energy bill by 15%. If you go for a more complex model, you can save anything more than 20% of your bill – sounds great, doesn’t it?

For example, if you currently pay $3,000 per year for power, a programmable thermostat can save you anything between $450 and $900 per year. This means that the investment in the programmable thermostat is worth it since you save more than you will spend on the thermostat itself. The main reason is the increased efficiency of your heating/cooling system and adjusting the temperature, so there is no waste.

Another ‘hidden’ cost-benefit of a good thermostat is related to your system itself. Put it this way – the more it functions, the shorter the life it has. But with a programmable thermostat, the system will operate only when you have programmed it to, turning off when it is unnecessary, such as when you are not at home. This means it runs for less time in a day, increasing its lifespan.

Wrapping Up

So, does programmable thermostat save money in the long run? Overall, a programmable thermostat can definitely help to save you money over time. Some more intricate models have some further energy-saving features as well. But at the very least, the energy savings will be a minimum of 15% of your bill per year, even with the simplest of models. The more complicated ones will also help you save money, although their prices can be quite high. It is up to you whether to go for a cheaper basic programmable thermostat to save money or to choose a more complicated smart thermostat that comes with additional features, comfort, and customization.

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Henry Brookstone - November 1, 2019 Reply

It’s not always easy to afford something like a programmable thermostat but they are helpful and more importantly, save money. They do pay for themselves but it’s hard for people to see the big picture sometimes. Personally, I get big items like that and use a credit card with 6 or 12-month no interest financing. Not everyone has them but if they do, they should consider buying a programmable thermostat with it.

    Don’t Touch The Dial - November 1, 2019 Reply

    That is an interesting view point, most people will not see the bigger picture as it’s money being spent on a Utility, this purchase would be one of a few things to control your cost in HVAC. Some people see an instant return when they have teenagers home that know what a Thermostat is and what it does.

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