Energy saving thermostats and home comfort

Understand your thermostat

​​​If you have a programmable thermostat* there is about a 50 percent chance you aren't using it efficiently – possibly costing you hundreds of dollars every year – according to research from the University of California, Davis. Start saving money with our tips below.

* A programmable thermostat, also known setback thermostat, adjusts your home's temperature with a series of programmed settings at different times.

If you have a manual thermostat*:

  • Do you adjust it every time you leave the house or go to bed?
  • Is your home always comfortable when you walk in the front door or climb out of bed?

If you answered 'no' to any of these questions, you should probably get a programmable thermostat and start maximizing your comfort and energy savings.

* A manual thermostat requires someone to physically adjust the thermostat each time the home's temperature needs changed.

Use it like an Energy Pro!

  • When you're away from home: Save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs by turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours a day*. 
  • While you're home: Each degree you adjust your thermostat can subtract nine percent from your energy bill – or add nine percent onto it! Wisely use clothing and blankets to find a home temperature where you're comfortable, yet saving energy.
  • While you're sleeping: Try adjusting your thermostat to reduce home energy use during sleep. During winter, try using a thick, down comforter to insulate your body heat in bed. In summer, try minimizing layers. Sleep quality is important, so experiment to find your money-saving sweet spot. 
  •  'Hold' or 'vacation' setting:  Also sometimes labeled 'permanent,' do not use this setting to adjust day-to-day temperature at a comfortable level. You can properly use the 'hold/vacation/permanent' setting to keep your home at a consistent, energy efficient temperature while you're gone for extended periods of time (vacation).
  • The fan setting: Set the thermostat's fan setting to 'auto' to save money and potentially help humidity levels.

Looking for more thermostat tips?

Explore ENERGY STAR's Guidelines for Programmable Thermostats or visit the Department of Energy's Thermostat page for guidance on homes with heat pumps, radiant floor heating and other uncommon forms of heating.