Heating and air conditioning only keep you comfortable when you’re actually in your home, right? Otherwise, all that energy (and money) is literally disappearing into thin air. So invest in a programmable thermostat, an easy and inexpensive way to reduce home energy use and cut your utility bills at the same time.
A programmable thermostat lets you specify exactly when you need your heating or air conditioning to work its magic. You might set it to shut off your AC after you leave for work in the morning, then have it bring the temperature back down to a comfortable level before you return in the evening. Or you could reduce your heating overnight while you sleep, but then automatically warm things up in the morning.
More advanced models even feature a vacation hold mode. The thermostat keeps heating or AC at a minimal level (or completely turned off) for days at a time, then returns the temperature to your preferred level in time for your return.
For a full-featured design, try Honeywell’s 7-Day Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat (pictured above). It’s compatible with a full range of climate-control systems (including heat pump systems), and the touchscreen interface lets users create separate heating/cooling profiles for each day of the week. It retails for $129.99, but you can find it on sale at Amazon for about $85.
For homeowners who simply want a straightforward design in a user-friendly package, check out the Honeywell Pro 2000 Programmable Thermostat. The screen is backlit for easy viewing, and users can program heating, cooling, and fan settings. It’s available for $45 at Amazon.