How to Use a Programmable Thermostat for Max Savings


If, like most people, you are thinking of ways to reduce your utility bills and energy consumption, you may be considering major changes like a new HVAC system, solar heating, or low-flow plumbing fixtures. There are, however, other (cheaper) ways to increase energy efficiency while reducing overall costs.

A new furnace, air conditioner, water heater, or plumbing fixtures will help out a lot, and may even be necessary, but don’t overlook the smaller changes you can be making. For instance, a programmable thermostat doesn’t cost much and can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling bill, which the estimates accounts for about 45% of all home energy costs, about $1,000 a year!

Now, let’s clarify this: it is not the programmable thermostat that automatically saves you energy and money. It is a responsible homeowner who uses the tool to his or her advantage that makes the real difference. It’s like downloading a new app that is supposed to make your life more organized and productive. Of course, it won’t magically make you more organized or productive; you have to use the app’s features to see the potential benefits.

Programmable Thermostat Benefits

  • Cost-Effective – by properly using a programmable or smart thermostat, the EPA estimates that you could save about $180 per year on energy costs. Considering that you can get a programmable thermostat and install it yourself for less than $40, the decision should be easy, based on ROI alone.
  • Energy Savings – conserving energy with a programmable thermostat, up to 20% according to the EPA, will increase your home’s energy efficiency. Go green with a programmable thermostat by preventing unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions!
  • Longer-Lasting HVAC System – by only using your HVAC system when you need it, you will inevitably use it less, thus lessening its operating load. This will reduce the need for repairs and prolong the useful life of your heating and cooling system.
  • Convenience – no longer will you have to remember to turn on and off your AC or furnace. You can program the thermostat to turn on and off with specific temperature settings when you want them. That means that your heat can be scheduled to turn on 30 minutes before you wake up or come back home, providing you with an already warm home when you need it. Rather than waiting for your HVAC system to catch up, you can program it to already be at the specific temperature setting when you want it.

Remember, you have to set the programmable thermostat manually to see any of these benefits. It’s as simple as Set & Save.

We recommend setting your programmable thermostat to about 68 degrees F when you are home and about 55 degrees F when you are away or asleep. If you want your home at 68 degrees when you come home from work or wake up, remember to set your thermostat to the desired setting about 30 minutes in advance to give your heater time to get the temperature back up.

According to, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. (If you have a heat pump, don’t do this without a programmable thermostat).”

Other programmable thermostat tips


NOTE: There are usually discount programs available for homeowners who choose to replace an inefficient thermostat with a programmable thermostat. For a list of programmable thermostat incentives and other savings, see this list.

Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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