Buying and installing a programmable thermostat isn’t going to save you any money on your heating bill.
The reason why folks often say programmable thermostats save energy and cash is because you can set them to automatically lower the temperature when you aren’t home or are asleep. That can lead to a 5 to 15 percent reduction in energy use according to the Department of Energy.
If you’re looking to put cash back in your pocket on a monthly basis, you’re going to actually need to take the time to figure out a realistic schedule and program your thermostat. Believe it or not, that doesn’t happen most of the time.
Various studies have shown that a lot of programmable thermostats are poorly designed and hard to understand. That means people give up on trying to learn how to program them. One study from the Berkeley National Laboratory, says up to 50 percent of programmable thermostats in homes are set on permanent hold status, which basically means they’re just manual thermostats. In fact, questions about energy savings with programmable thermostats led EnergyStar to discontinue its programmable thermostat specification in 2009.
So here’s the deal. If you’re in the market for a new thermostat, we always recommend you take a serious look at an electronic thermostat. They do a better job reading the temperature of the room and keeping it at a consistent temperature. Whether you buy a basic electronic thermostat or a programmable one is up to you.
If you’re a person that leaves their heat on frequently, then a programmable thermostat could be a great option for you. Just make sure to program it.