How to Save Money on your Heating and Air Condition Bills by Using a Programmable Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to save money on heating and cooling your home is by turning off your AC or heater while you are not around or less picky about the temperature. This is especially relevant in Phoenix where the SRP power company allows you to use plans where you get discounts for not using power during specific times of the day. I signed up for a plan where I get cheaper power every day except between the hours of 3 and 6 PM. That’s when they really jack up the prices.

At first I tried manually setting the AC to turn off during that time window but I would frequently forget. Even lightly running the AC during the forbidden power window would add dollars to my next electric bill. As a solution I bought an inexpensive programmable thermostat off amazon for less than $25. The Honeywell RTH221B1021/A.

With any programmable thermostat you will be able to set the times when the house should be at a specific temperature. The Honeywell can adequately do this and is simple enough to program. I live in an apartment so I first considered asking the front office about installing a programmable thermostat but I knew that would be a waste of time. You can easily do it yourself and there’s no need to tell the office since it’s not much different than hanging up a painting.

One recommendation when installing a new thermostat is to turn off the power to everything you don’t need on. Then it’s a simple matter of matching the correctly colored wires and pins on the back to the wall. You’ll probably have to slide wires around but it shouldn’t be that challenging. Some thermostats also need batteries if power isn’t provided from the wall.

For programming you can easily find instructional videos on youtube for your specific model but basically you need to keep pressing “Set” and either turn whatever is selected up or down depending on your preference. These thermostats often use programming related to daily events: Wake, leave, return, and sleep. A typical American work day. If you’re financially independent then you can change the meanings of them to whatever you want, they’re just 4 different times you can adjust the temperature during a day. Mine is set to for wake at 2pm to reduce the house’s temperature before the next trigger at 3pm turns off the AC until 6pm and then a 4th event happens at midnight when I like to cool down to sleep. At any point I can change the temperature manually and it will be set to that temperature until the next timed event.

Some thermostats cost a lot more and include features like Wi-Fi and remote network access. I don’t think they’re worth the extra price but you might appreciate the additional “smartness” they bring. Changing your thermostat to something that can change the temperature in your house automatically is a great way to save money in a way that quickly pays back for the new thermostat and much more.