Purchase, install and program an ENERGY STAR certified programmable thermostat. One of the most cost-effective energy improvements available, you can easily manage your home comfort while using less energy. Programmable thermostats typically have anywhere from two to six temperature settings daily, allowing you to design your own settings based on your schedule. Lowering heat settings 10 to 15 degrees while you're gone during the day and while you sleep can lower utility costs as much as 15% a year! Programming the furnace or air conditioning to kick on just an hour before you get home or wake up allows your home to reach comfortable levels without wasting energy. Try the Energy Star's interactive programmable thermostat online to see how different temperature settings can make a difference!
Having a programmable thermostat saves energy only if you use it properly. Some are easier to program than others, so if yours is confusing, return it and exchange it for one that is easier to use so that you will use it. Set the programmed temperatures to be comfortable to everyone in your home, as using the override feature frequently can result in saving less energy than if the temperature were a degree or two different and comfortable.
The location of your thermostat is also important to energy efficiency. To prevent "ghost readings" locate your thermostat away from windows, doors, direct sunlight, vents, or drafty areas. This can cause unwanted cycling of your heating & cooling appliances. For best results, locate thermostats on interior walls and program two or more zones with multiple thermostats to focus heating and cooling where you need it. This helps maintain the comfort for a group of rooms based on their use. For example, program a thermostat near your busy living spaces to be warmer while you're home during the evening. Have another to control upstairs bedrooms that are used only for sleeping. Learn more about different types of programmable thermostats and which thermostats work best with your heating type, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's Thermostat and Control Systems web page.