One of the big tips I often read about for cutting your bills is to install a programmable thermostat in your home. And they can certainly be convenient. But are they for everyone?
I’ve lived with and without one. Many times, they have indeed been a good idea. If your home gets too cold at night, for example, it’s nice to have the house warming up a little before everyone has to get out of bed.
On the other hand, I currently don’t have one and don’t feel the need. I work at home, so I’m here all the time, and I know quite a bit about how much heat I tend to use in winter, and how much air conditioning I use in the summer.
Not a whole lot, actually.
Being in southern California, we don’t get the extremes that other places do. Our hottest is pretty hot, but our coldest is nothing compared to a lot of places. That means sweaters do an awfully good job of keeping me and my family warm in winter. It’s a lot cheaper to warm our bodies than to warm our house.
In summer we learn to adapt to the heat. That and fans allow us to minimize the use of an air conditioner.
Of course, I’m not at all opposed to programmable thermostats for most people. Many places you quite simply do need to heat or cool your home, and it’s probably on a predictable schedule. It saves a lot of trouble to have the thermostat turn itself up and down by the times you are going to need the house to be a particular temperature.
We can all forget little details like turning down the heater before leaving, after all. And that wastes a lot of energy. Much better to have it turn itself down at those times that you know you won’t need it.
Even if you have one, of course, you should be considering ways to use less heat and air conditioning, depending on the season. Even a few degrees difference in how you set it can save you quite a bit of money. How much you do depends on personal tolerance.