How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill – Using Programmable Thermostats

by Scott Sery on March 16, 2012

One of the primary goals of One Smart Dollar is to help every reader to build their net worth.  But net worth grows much slower when money is spent unnecessarily.  One way to slow the money going out is to make sure you are saving as much on your utility bills as possible.  It is necessary to provide a comfortable place to live, but it is not necessary to make the utility companies rich.  This is precisely why everyone should invest in a programmable thermostat.

Many older homes and apartments still have the older style thermostats.  These older thermostats operate on an expansion and contraction of wires rather than an actual reading of the air temperature.  So when they get old, they do not work as well as they used to.  A person can wait for their old thermostat to break, or they can be proactive and upgrade to a programmable and most likely recoup the cost of the thermostat within a year (up to $180 in savings in one year according to Energy Star).


The digital programmable thermostat will give not only a more accurate reading of the air temperature in the house, but can also be set to a lower temperature in the winter (higher in the summer) when you are not home.  Rather than spending money heating an empty house all day while at work, the thermostat will adjust at a specified point in the day.  Since it would not make much of a difference to have the temperature change for just a couple of hours, it makes the most economical sense to only have it adjust when you will be gone for more than 8 hours.  At this time, set the thermostat to change at least 8 degrees for maximum efficiency.  Learn more about setting the thermostat on the Energy Star website.

Honeywell invented the original thermostat back in 1883.  Since then the technology has grown and changed until the digital thermostat came out in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  This set in motion a whole new era of how the heating and cooling of homes was monitored and controlled.  While the digital thermostat has been around for over 30 years, it has really gained popularity in the last 15.  Energy prices continue to rise, and people are more aware of their impact on the environment.  So rather than use more than they need, a simple thermostat upgrade can make a huge impact.

Those who are even a little bit handy around the house will be able to install a programmable thermostat themselves making the savings even greater.  They are sold at nearly every hardware store across the country, and multiple online retailers carry them as well.  For those who would rather not do the work themselves, a heating and cooling specialist would be able to install it quickly, and they guarantee their work.  So for those who would like to see their net worth go up because their energy expenses go down, a programmable thermostat is one of the most important upgrades one can do.

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website ScottSery.com

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