Tuesday, December 16, 2008

BRRRR! (And Our Programmable Thermostat)

It is SO COLD here! BRRRRR! In honor of the cold, I'm reposting a very old post (that nobody probably saw before!). I've seen some discussion over whether lowering your heat really helps save money... these numbers prove it does (on a forced air heating system, at least).

One of the first things we did to our house was install a programmable thermostat. We chose this Honeywell 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat. $30 later...

This is what we set the thermostat to:
Year 1: 62º (No programmable thermostat)
Year 2: 62º During the Day, 54º at Night and While Gone

Table 1, Monthly Therm Usage

Year 1, Year 2
October: 47 Therms, 30 Therms
November: 24 Therms, 19 Therms
December: 96 Therms, 75 Therms
January: 113 Therms, 63 Therms
February: 69 Therms, 71 Therms
March: 72 Therms, 50 Therms

Average: 70.16, 51.33
Total: 421 Therms, 308 Therms

Table 2, Monthly Outside Temperature

Year 1, Year 2
October: 53º, 56º
November: 44º, 46º
December: 32º, 29º
January: 29º, 38º
February: 37º, 29º
March: 39º, 36º

Average: 39º, 39º

We saved 19 therms a month, simply by installing a programmable thermostat! Installing the thermostat took about 20 minutes of our lives. WELL worth it! We have definitely saved our $30 many times over. Now that we have made the house more efficient in other ways, I'm looking for even more savings this year!


Kristy said...

I always wondered what temperature other homeowner's set their thermostat at, and I am amazed at your numbers (62 & 54)...boy, you must be chilly.

Although I have a programmable one too, I can't exactly set it for when somebody is home or not, as my sister doesn't work an 8-5 job like I do...her hours are erratic. Thanks for sharing your findings, it's interesting.

Jennifer said...

Kristy~ Chilly and cheap! :) We wear sweaters and slippers and such around the house, and have two big fluffy down comforters for the bed. The programmable ones do work better if you have a set schedule... I don't all the time, so have to override it occasionally~

Robj98168 said...

I found a programmable for baseboard and fan forced wall heaters- I love it- never have to remember to lower or raise the temp setting again. I keep mine at 65 when home and 55 when in bed or gone. And wear sweaters/sweatshirts or cuddle up with pug the wonder dog on the couch!

Silvia said...

Yeah people, and lets just hope that you don't have double the cost of gas in your state, otherwise the programmable thermostat isn't gonna make a change, the so-called savings are out the window...at least in my state, where it is not an option to set the thermostat on 62...I would have ice roses on my windows, we have -25 degrees celsius outside...

Jayne said...

Silvia, I hear ya, girl! Our gas costs went up by almost 30%, so even with lots of attic insulation and keeping the house on the chilly side, my utility bills are still going to be higher. Sigh... That said, I still might get a programmable thermostat for the tiny dent in the bill it would make on the nights when I forget to turn down the thermostat before I go to work.

Heather said...

Thank you for posting your usages by month! I just got our December bill and was surprised to see the jump in usage and was wondering whether that was normal or not. Then I saw your posting and went, whew, okay, not so odd or bad.

Not sure I can keep the house that chilly as I am home all day but glad to see our usage isn't too high either. The benefits of buying a small house. :)

NV said...

You're making me cold just thinking about 62 degrees! I commend you. you're stronger willed than I am because I cannot stand the cold. And it wouldn't do me any good to turn the thermostat down anyway. The mother would turn it right back up.

Jessie said...

Oh! I have to conduct this same research into our energy usage, since we insulated this year. This was an interesting post, I'm dying to compare our numbers now!

Paul said...


Excellent research! We installed our programmable thermostat before we moved in so I have no "before" data. What I do know is we use less oil (for a similar sized house) than almost all of our friends.