Save Energy and Money this Winter with a Programmable Thermostat

By Brooke Drake, January 25, 2012, Energy Efficiency, Save Money

Living in Texas, I’m never exposed to harsh cold winters. My body literally goes into shock if the weather drops below 60 degrees. And on those few days where the weather temps do fall below 60, my heating costs do quite the opposite. If I even hear the word 50 degrees, I make a dash to the heater to crank it up. But as my husband keeps telling me that energy doesn’t just appear, that we do indeed have to pay for it, it turns out I have to keep my heater cranking habits under control. And one of the best ways to do that is by using a programmable thermostat.

Not only does using a programmable thermostat save energy, but you can save about 10% a year on cooling and heating bills too. I can think of plenty of things to spend that money on (or maybe save) rather than spending it on energy.  By keeping your thermostat programmed 10-15 degrees cooler (for the winter) for at least eight hours, it will result in saving energy and saving money.

Not only does a programmable thermostat save energy and money, but it saves you the hassle of remembering to change your thermostat when leaving the house or throughout the day. When using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on your heater (or A/C) to a pre-set schedule. So you no longer have to change the temperature when you are asleep or away from the house. Most programmable thermostats have six or more temperature settings that you can program for each day of the week. The key is to figure out a program that will automatically reduce heating and cooling in your home when you don’t need it as much.

Now, in order to see your savings, not only do you need to program your thermostat for 10-15 degrees lower, but you also need to keep your thermostat on those settings as well. It doesn’t help your bottom line if you program the thermostat and then keep manually adjusting it throughout the day.

As a point of reference, here are the pre-programmed settings for a programmable thermostat during the winter months according to

Programmable Thermostat Setpoint Times & Temperatures
Setting          Time                Setpoint Temperature (Heat)
Wake              6:00 a.m.       ≤ 70° F
Day                8:00 a.m.       Setback at least 8° F
Evening        6:00 p.m.       ≤ 70° F
Sleep            10:00 p.m.     Setback at least 8° F


VIDEO:  “Using a Programmable Thermostat during the Winter”

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Comments (2)


  1. Midcom says:

    Great tips here – I will definitely be using your thermostat idea when I get my new flame proof heaters installed.

  2. British Gas says:

    In the UK we have smart meters as well which actually feed back readings to the energy providers allowing for more accurate billing which save money we also have energy meters which can actually tell you what times of day are cheaper to run your washing maching and how much energy you are using so you can control your consumption.