Monique O'Grady: Heating and cooling makes up almost half of your home's energy consumption, that's a lot, but one easy way to reduce those costs is by using a programmable thermostat. It remembers to adjust the temperature when you are at work or at night when you are sleeping, so you don't have to set it manually each time.
Programmable thermostats can cost as little as 25 dollars and they can save up to $110 or more a year. To maximize savings in the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you are at home and set it lower when you are sleeping and or awake.
In the summer time you can save by keeping your house warmer when you are awake and lowering it to 78 degrees when you are at home and need to be cool. Also when shopping, make sure you choose the right programmable thermostat for you and your family.
Buy a seven-day model if your daily schedules are constantly changing. The 52 model are great for families that keep the same schedules Monday through Friday but have entirely different plans on the weekends and the 511 models are best if you have similar plans throughout the week, but your plans vary on Saturdays and change again on Sundays. And some of the newer models will even learn your schedule and adjust accordingly.
If you get a new programmable thermostat, remember the location matters, they will perform more reliably if they are away from direct sunlight, drafts, windows and doorways. And since you want to program them yourself, they should be easy to access for update. Keep your house comfortable by using a programmable thermostat and you will be more comfortable with your energy bills.