Regardless of the season, there are several steps every homeowner can take to reduce their energy costs.  After caulking the windows and doors to prevent drafts and making sure there is adequate insulation, every homeowner should consider installing a programmable thermostat.   Programmable thermostats provide homeowners with the biggest energy-saving return for the smallest investment.     

A 10 to 15 percent adjustment in your home’s temperature for an eight hour period will save 10% in heating and cooling costs.  By adjusting the thermostat at bedtime and while away from home, those savings could double.  The average homeowner can adjust a standard thermostat, but it will not be as effective. A standard thermostat does not begin to lower or raise the temperature until the dial is moved.   A programmable thermostat, however, works on its own computer and knows when to make those changes.  Let’s say you’d like your house to be 65 degrees between 10 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., and after 7:00 a.m., you keep your house at a comfortable 72 degrees.  A programmable thermostat will begin to make adjustments to the furnace or air conditioner prior to those times.  So by the time 10 p.m. rolls around, the temperature is already 65; and it will also slowly increase the temperature in the morning to ensure it is 72 degrees at precisely 7 a.m.  These thermostats can be programmed to change temperatures several times throughout the day, and they also can be set differently for weekends.

             There are many different brands of programmable thermostats with varying costs.  Find the one that is right for your home, and have a reputable technician install it.  A knowledgeable technician will also program the thermostat the first time, and teach you how to make any adjustments or changes in the future.