U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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Programmable Thermostats

Illustration shows a thermostat in winter set at 62 degrees at 11pm at night.

Hot Winter Tip
Using a programmable thermostat, you can automatically turn down your heat at night or when you are not at home.


Illustration shows a thermostat in summer set at 78 degrees at 11pm at night.

Cool Summer Tip
In the summer, you can save money by automatically turning your air-conditioning up at night or when you are at work.

You can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can do this automatically by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a preset schedule. As a result, the equipment doesn't operate as much when you are asleep or when the house, or a part of it, is not occupied. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. When shopping for a programmable thermostat, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR label.

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Content Last Updated: 1/22/2009