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How we’re saving over $100 per year by using a programmable thermostat

Melody emailed in the following tip:

We save quite a bit of money by using my programmable thermostat wisely!

They say you can save about 10% off your heating bill by lowering the temp 3-4 degrees (this applies to your cooling bill in the summer, too). Of course, we keep our programmable thermostat cooler at night and during times we are out of the house, but I also have another trick I use for all day when I’m home. I keep the thermostat set for 62 degrees and then give myself permission to bump it up if I’m too cold.

I find about half the time I don’t even notice that it’s set so low, and if I do, it’s often in the afternoon so it’s only set higher for an hour or two. By starting at 62 degrees instead of 68 degrees I estimate that in our cold climate we save well over $100 a year! -Melody

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87 Comments

  • Lana says:

    We had a programmable thermostat for about 2 weeks and we were so frustrated with it that we took it out and went back to a regular one. My husband claims it was possessed 🙂

    • Monica says:

      Haha, I still can’t figure out how to work mine! lol!

    • We found out that bumping it around constantly (up or down a degree or two at a time several times a day) – rather than just leaving it set at a certain temperature – confuses the computer in the system, making it hard to work with.

      The advice we received: set it and basically forget it unless you need to reset it for some reason.

      Now it works great!
      Lea

  • J says:

    Wow, I could never survive in the winter with the thermostat set for 62. Good for you

    • Linda says:

      We love our programmable thermostat. We do 68 in the day when we are home, 64 at night and when we are out. We also have a humidifier that is connected to our furnace. The drier your air, the more cold it will feel. That could be part of why everyone prefers such different thermostat settings.

    • Tina says:

      We keep ours set on 62 and do just fine! I think that its whatever you get used to

  • Sarah says:

    Wow the timing of this post is impeccable! I was just thinking of ways to make our thermostat more efficient.
    I may try something like that… We got a programmable thermostat about 2 years ago and I swear the thing costs more to run than our old turn-the-dial type one. Now this is only in the winter since we don’t have A/C but our utility bill skyrockets come wintertime. I went back and looked at our old bills and that thing seriously isn’t saving us any money… We have it set at 60 at night and 67 during the day, so nothing super tropical by any means.
    Any other ideas anyone? Or is anyone else having the same issue I am? And just overall, I find the one bill we have the most issues with is the utility bill- mainly the gas portion of it. I can’t get that thing under control to save my life!

    • Kathy says:

      We have our thermostat set at 62 degrees all the time so we don’t use a programmable one. We do turn it up for company. Most people think 62 is too cold. We figure we can always put on more clothes or blankets. Really the only time we really notice it when we first go to bed and when first get up in the morning. It is actually nice we cleaning. Lots less sweating. Our bill is less than last winter and that is even with heating costs going up since last winter.

    • Rebekah Williams says:

      What kind of heat do you have? With a heat pump you actually dont’ want to be constantly adjusting the temperature, it will cause the pump to have to work harder to catch back up to heat the room. Not the same with A/C though. 🙂

      • Christine says:

        I actually think you are not supposed to use programmable ones with heat pumps.

      • Mei-Lyn says:

        What is a heat pump? And how do we find out if we have one? I know that our heater is electric, but not much more than that (we rent, so we’ve never had to mess with it or see it).

        • Stacey says:

          A heat pump is one unit that you have that both heats and cools your home. Its electric. In the winter you turn it to heat so it will make the home warmer and it the summer you switch the thermostat to cool . If you rent you could probably just ask your landlord.

      • Sarah says:

        We have a natural gas furnace- it’s not electric.

    • K says:

      I keep the doors shut to rooms that are not used daily, make sure closet/cupboard doors & all drawers are shut tightly when I’m not in them, & put towel rolls at the base of all outside doors & closed off rooms (until I can make something nicer).

      As far as the other utilities:
      • Wash my hair at the kitchen sink, since this uses less water than the shower.
      • Turn the water off when brushing my teeth.
      • You can put a “dummy” in the toilet tank so less water is used with each flush
      • Plug in/unplug appliances with every use ie. microwave, toaster, coffee maker, treadmill, fan, tv/DVD (the tv, DVD, antenna, & converter box are on one power strip, which is turned off when not in use)
      • There was an article on Recycle Bank that had some tips this week too.

      • Linda says:

        I cracked up when I read this: “make sure closet/cupboard doors & all drawers are shut tightly when I’m not in them.”

        I know you meant, when not in the room or using them, but I couldn’t help picturing someone all folded up in a drawer or stuffed into a cupboard. 🙂

      • Joy says:

        The tip about unplugging appliances after each use is a good one. When I was a teenager, I lived with my Dad who had our house running entirely on solar power. Each little bit of power was critical and he would show us how if things were plugged in, even if nothing at all was on, the batteries were drawing amps.

      • Sarah says:

        Question about this with closing up other rooms- do you actually close all the vents in those rooms? Because even if we close the doors and what not, they’ll still be heated through the vents (which are on the ceiling and prego me doesn’t really want to climb up and open/close them when we’re in the room).
        We do most of those other things you listed or a variation of it. Thanks! Unfortunately we haven’t noticed a difference still. We went 6+ months without a dryer and I hang-dryed all our clothes and it still didn’t make our bill go lower. I think I’m paranoid our utility company is a rip-off. 🙂

        • sarah says:

          Yes, they are ripping you off! 🙂 I’m only sort of kidding – if you look at all the fees they charge, it’s hard to get your bill down, even when you’re freezing because the thermostat is so low, etc. That’s our experience. Some areas have multiple options for service providers – you could look into that. We don’t have options. My thermostats (up and down) are sub-60 all winter. One thing that helps is opening the blinds wide each day to capture solar heat and then closing them as soon as the sun is setting.

        • K says:

          Yes, I have the vent closed. That room is our gutted bathroom (renovation is on hold for now). I also hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer so much & am “trying” to make a habit of unplugging the washer & dryer when they aren’t being used (my outlets are easy to get to). Make sure to change the furnace filter & clean the dryer vent routinely too.

          I had a dripping faucet repaired a couple of years ago that added up to quite a savings on the water bill, once it was fixed. I called the water company & they reimbursed me the difference (before vs. after the repair) for a few months.

          Little things often add up. Here’s some links to tips I read on RecycleBank.com this week:
          http://earth911.com/news/2013/01/18/10-sneaky-ways-to-save-energy/
          http://earth911.com/news/2013/01/29/waste-less-energy-tips/
          http://earth911.com/news/2012/03/26/how-to-save-more-than-2000-this-year/
          Recycle Bank has other energy saving articles too. You may have to sign up with them to read them.

  • Ashley P says:

    lol. Even in winter, we have the opposite problem in Florida. It gets so darn HOT here! On nice days, I turn the thing off completely and just open the windows to cool the apartment. (It’s been in the 60s and 70s all week. HEAVEN!)

    But we do set the thermostat to turn off while we’re at work and we keep all the blinds closed. It helps keep the house cooler that way.

  • Jaclyn says:

    I love that this picture was taken at 12:33am. 🙂

  • Rachael says:

    We have a programmable thermostat. the big advantage is being able to set it so that your heat or a/c kicks up or down appropriately when you are out of the house for a long period of time and then have it kick back to the comfortable temp just before you get home. If someone is home all day, its not quite the savings you would otherwise have, since you want the house comfy. For example, when we were both working full, the thermostat, in the winter, would drop to 55 or so during the day when we were gone. It would warm the house to 62 just before we would be getting home. Summer is similar… thermostat kicks up to 84 or so, then a/c kicks in just before we get home. Now that I’m home full time, its on 62′ all day and 58′ at night. (Yes, I wear long johns in the house when its that cold). So, there aren’t the savings like we had when I wasn’t home all day.

  • Shannon says:

    I highly commend you for being able to have the discipline to keep your thermostat set at 62 degrees. Thanks to my being born and raised in CA, I have never been able to acclimate to this cold IN weather and therefore my poor hubby has to keep our thermostat set at a whopping 74 degrees. I am such a frugal person and it really bothers me to waste money on electricity. Howevery, I have recently made a really smart purchase. I bought some curtains which are thermal and very heavy in our livingroom. I can already tell a huge difference in the amount of times the thermostat turns on so I can’t wait to see the difference in our electric bill this month.

    • Melody says:

      That’s funny- we moved to CO from CA 5 years ago- although I do think the fact I’ve been pregnant 3 of our 5 winters here accounts for my quick acclimation! Nothing like being 8 months pregnant to make you turn the thermostat down! I do bump it up if I’m cold- but it’s surprising to me how often I’m moving around the house and don’t even notice it.

      • Shannon says:

        Wow three out of five winters. You have your hands full. My son is 2 and after reading your note I can remember how much warmer my body ran when I was pregnant. I will have to try lowering my thermostat but for sure after we move past being negative 9 degrees here 😉

    • Shelly says:

      I’m from Arizona and can’t seem to acclimate to the Minnesota winter, but I’m keeping the heat at 63. I may have to wear a bunch of clothes around the house, but I’m not blowing a bunch of money on heat!

    • Kathy says:

      I’m in Indiana and we keep it at 62. I think if u would give it a try for two weeks you might be surprised. I grew up in a house that was 75 plus at all times and I got use to it. Maybe you should wait to try till we get past this negative wind chill we have right now.

      • Shannon says:

        Oh really? That is really great and I bet it saves tons of money. I bet I could get used to it. The human body is amazing and easily adaptable. I just haven’t been able to take that plunge yet and yeah this -9 degree wind chill thing is something else isn’t it?

  • dee says:

    We do the same thing and today our high temp outside was 9 degrees so 62 inside felt great :o) I wear long undies and a wool sweater with a scarf around my neck. I only get chilly when I sit down to watch a movie or read so then I just grab a blanket or shawl. When my kids were small I just dressed them warmly. I also think you sleep much better in a cool room!

  • Courtney says:

    We keep our thermostat set at 62, too. Sweatshirts & warm socks are a must, but it’s worth it because we’re saving so much money. 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    Ummm, I keep ours set too but at 74. I’m a whimp.

  • Sandy says:

    I keep my thermostat set at 65 at all times. I do find I need to wear a sweater, but only in the evening. I open my blinds during the day and the sun warms my living room enough that I don’t bother wearing one until dinnertime. I did buy a Home Classics Level 2 down alternative comforter at Kohl’s. I bought it when it was on sale 50% off, used my 30% off code. I paid $63.00, shipped to my door, and earned $10 for spending $50. I have to say, it really keeps me nice and warm at night. Definitely worth the money spent.

  • Lindsay says:

    Holy cow! It is WELL worth $100 to me to be comfortable in my own and not have to dress in layers and a scarf. That’s crazy.

  • Whitney says:

    I have to agree that 62 is much too cold for me and I would willingly pay more than $100 to be comfortable. However, we do other things to save money on utilities:

    1) we live in a three-story townhome and it’s difficult to keep the temperature consistent. In the winter, we keep two different space heaters and just use them where we are. It’s very efficient. And in the summer, we use fans. It works!

  • Joy says:

    A different Joy, here. 😉 We actually closed off the floor vent in our dining room where our programmable thermostat is located. Otherwise, the room gets too warm and the furnace/AC kicks off prematurely before rest of house is warm/cool. Plus, it also helps force more hot or cold air to our upstairs rooms. We keep our thermostat at 68 during the day if at home and 65 at night or away from home during winter. We live in the snow capital of NY state. LOL. On really frigid days (below 0) we will turn it up to 70.

  • Chelsea says:

    If you rent, you might want to double check with your landlord before doing this. One of requirements at our complex is that we keep the temp at a minimum of 65 at all tiMrs. We keep ours at 68, and that’s bearable but not fun. Tonight it’s bumped up to 70 because it’s so cold. With how expensive heating and cooling costs are, even keeping it at that makes for a high bill. If this works for you, I say good for you and go for it!

    • Meghan says:

      We lived at a complex with that rule, but I ignored it because I wasn’t willing to pay the bill!!! But, now we have an infant, and I keep it warmer for him. Last winter when I was pregnant we kept it at 55!!! Poor hubby.

  • august says:

    We have one, but we haven’t been able to maintain less than 65 (our 3 year old starts shaking and I feel like a horrible parent).

    On another note, we were able to completely shut off our air/heat for a few months and our elec bill dropped to $100 for a few months, but now that it’s on, but not running, it’s staying around $140. My husband doesn’t believe it costs to have it on and not running, but I swear it!

  • A.k says:

    Ok, so where in the U.S are u located?! And do u have children?! Bc 62 during the days would keep our nose, toes, and everything in between freezing! Ours is set at 72 and we are still cold and wearing fleece. I could keep it at 62 if I’m cuddled on a couch wearing fleece and thermals, baking something in the oven, and having a huge plush blanket over my head while sipping some hot cocoa or coffee. But to carry out normal daily routines, no…62 will not cut it.

    • A.k says:

      And saving that 100 $ per year would probably be spent on $100 in layers of clothing, coffee, and cold medicine 🙁

    • Anitra says:

      Personally, I keep my house between 64-66 during the day (automatically at 64, if I’m cold I bump it up to 66), and my kids (2 & 4) are STILL always trying to strip off clothes and run around in short sleeves (if not completely naked)! I have to tell the 4 year old “Put a sweater on, just LOOKING at your bare arms makes me cold!”

      Part of it is just whatever you’re used to; part of it is how active you are during the day. As a mom of little ones, I find I’m rarely able to sit still for long. And part of it is genetics. I am the type who is always cold. My parents kept the house around 65 and always told me to go put on a sweater if I felt cold. I learned from their example that the house can be cool as long as my toes, fingers, and nose aren’t cold.

  • Armando says:

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂 It is great to know that there are small things/practices that can get you save a lot of money in a year’s time.

  • okicoupons says:

    we keep ours set to 78 degrees in st. louis…the lowest we ever go is 74 and thats just for a few hours if that.

  • denise says:

    We keep our house at about 62 degrees as well 🙂 It does feel a little chilly sometimes but that is what rice packs that you mirowave are for! Once you warm your feet back up your whole body feels warmer. Plus you sleep better when you are snuggled under blankets! Someday when I have kids I might bump it up higher to keep their fingers and toes warm but until then we’re perfectly fine with 62!

    Those of you that keep your homes at 72 degrees are keeping them warmer than most businesses keep their stores/offices! Besides that if my house was 72 degrees I’d be ready to run a fan because I’d be sweating!

    Oh and colds are not caused by cold temperatures they are caused by viruses!

    • A.k says:

      Colds may be caused by viruses but my dd’s asthma attacks are caused by cold. And runny noses are also caused by the cold. I’m an active parent in the home and still get chilly at 72, but I’m always freezing (maybe its in my blood?!) we go to my parents home who have the thermostat at 65 and it’s much too difficult to have to constantly keep reminding the kids to keep their socks on. My ds even said “nana ur house is freezing!” I don’t mind the home being cooler at night because we do bundle up and keep the door close… but with an open floor plan downstairs, the house needs to be above 70 during the days.

  • Courtney says:

    We save much, much more than $100 by keeping our thermostat set at 62.

    Last winter, we kept it set at 68 and had to have our LP tank filled three times. This winter, at 62 degrees, we’ve only had it filled once and it is still 25% full – and that is with sub-zero temps for much of the winter.

    Each time our tank is filled, it costs over $1000 – so our savings have been huge.

  • Janet says:

    This subject is near and dear to my heart, both because we have been in the heating and air business for over 30 years but mostly because I am a tightwad. I will make this post as brief as possible. 1. It’s true, night setback thermostats, programmed correctly, are a great way to save money and have the house comfortable when you need it most. As long as it is warm when it is time to roll out of bed, who cares if it is 50 degrees while you are warm in your bed? 2. Yes, you can use a setback thermostat with a heat pump. If you allow the house to get very cold, it might take a while to get warm again, but some thermostats compensate for that by starting earlier. 3. Central, whole-house heating and cooling systems are sized for your home’s volume. Air is supplied into the various rooms and areas, then goes back to the unit through the centrally-located return air grille(s). Closing rooms causes them to get warmer and warmer instead of allowing that air to mix throughout the house and return, defeating the system. Closing up or blocking registers to entire areas of the house is even worse–it restricts the airflow through the heat exchanger, which can cause it to overheat, shut off, cool down, and start again…over and over. This compromises both the efficiency of the furnace, and the life of the blower motor and furnace itself, defeating the purpose of saving money. Don’t close down more than 10% of the registers in your home—which in an average home is one small room. 4. The number one way to save money on heating and air, both in efficiency and repairs, is to keep your filter CLEAN.

    • Emily says:

      The guy who installed our new furnace and AC unit 2 years ago told us not to use the programmable feature of our thermostat. He said it is better to just leave it at the same temp, but I forget exactly why. Maybe you can elaborate or think of a reason why someone would tell us that?

      • denise says:

        I often wonder if the furnace or A/C doesn’t have to work harder to catch back up from being turned way low or high during the night or while I’m at work. I’m curious for an answer to this too! If one way is better or worse I’d like to know so I can use my thermostat more efficiently!

        • Janet says:

          I couldn’t think of a reason why the installer would tell you it is better to leave the thermostat at the same temp, so I asked my husband. After a moment, he said the only thing he could think of was that maybe the installer didn’t know how to program it! LOL!
          Seriously, he said only if your equipment was seriously undersized or on its last legs would it be unable to recover after being turned down during the day or overnight. And a gas furnace can “catch up” faster than a heat pump.

      • Lana says:

        We had an energy audit done and were told to keep ours at the same temp all the time to save money.

    • I have to agree with keeping the filter clean! We change ours out each month. It is very dusty here in the desert, and the a/c runs 6 months of the year. Changing the filter really makes a difference in our bill.

      We have seen a huge savings (several hundred dollars a year) by having a programmable thermostat (our creent house has 2; one for each unit). In our last house in town, we changed to a programmable thermostat and saw a savings of around $50 the first month in the summer. Just 2º diffference in the summer makes a huge difference in the bill, and with the regular thermostat, we couldn’t control that 2º. With the programmable one, we could get the house to stay at 78º instead of 76º. That is a giant savings (at my current house, that is a savings of almost $100 a MONTH).

      Our winters are short, but I keep my thermostats set to 65º night and day in winter. We have natural gas and our bills in the winter are very low. I am home all day. The sun comes in our main living area in the winter (though not in the summer) from south-facing windows. The house is usually around 68º during the day because of the sun.

  • I’ve never calculated the savings, but I love our programmable thermostat just for the convenience. I love that it kicks in and warms the house before I get downstairs!

    We have it set at 67 during the day and 60 at night. When we were both working out of the home, we programmed it to drop back to 60 during the day as well. So it would heat up the house at 6am and then drop back at 9am and reheat at 4pm. We are in Michigan, and it can be a little chilly at times (usually the days when I am being a couch potato!) but the kids have never complained of being cold.

    Last year, our heating bill for the entire year was just under $700. We have a 1,200 sq ft house and use natural gas.

  • Jen E says:

    NO WAY in the cold Iowa Midwest would I settle for 62. I save money so I can keep my thermostat at 72. Though, I would get a programable one if we were not renting.

  • All the people saying 62F is way too cold made me giggle. We are so spoiled today.

    My mom (who is 75), her aunt (who it 89) and my now deceased grandmother (who would be 111 if she was alive) have great stories about waking up to find the water pail or the in-ktichen water pump frozen in the winter – not solid, mind you, but with a film of ice over the water. That means it was less than 32F IN THE HOUSE in the winter. Now that’s cold! They all three lived “in town” (i.e. large cities – one of them Seattle) at the time, so this wasn’t a on-the-farm-hicksville thing either. Makes me grateful for our modern heating systems and the fact that I don’t have to chop wood or buy coal to heat my house!

    Oh, and I keep my thermostat somewhere between 62F and 68F depending on the temperature outside (we live in MN) just in case you’re curious! 🙂 In the summer it’s 80F-85F depending on the outside temp too.
    Lea

    • Rebecca says:

      I agree! I had to giggle at those thinking it is “freezing” or that it is a “health hazard.” A 62 degree day outside would feel like heaven here (MI) 🙂

  • Erin says:

    I’d gladly pay $100 a year for more heat. I like our thermostat at 73. I’m the type that gets chilled very easily and I really HATE being cold. I’d rather cut back elsewhere and make myself comfortable. Luckily for me, we currently have utilities included in our rent, so I can crank up the thermostat without ever seeing the bill. However, my parents (who also hate being cold) were always chopping and saving wood (fallen trees in neighbors yard, Christmas trees). In Idaho, where winters are long and very cold, they almost always had a fire going in their fireplace, which did a fantastic job of heating the house. One year, their furnace broke but the fireplace kept the house so warm (about 75) they never bothered to fix it. Low utility costs, warm house.

    • Jennie says:

      In college, I rented a room from a lady who kept the temperature at 62. When I got home after class or work, I would shake for at least 10 minutes while my body adjusted to the temperature. I’m from Minnesota and I’m not a wimp about being cold. I don’t think it would be a good idea for any family with young children or with family members with health problems or the elderly to have temperature set that low.

  • Shelly says:

    We keep our house at 62 in the winter also. We have had a programmable thermostat for over 10 years now and it is really nice just to set it and forget about it. I am sure we are saving by using it too.

  • Anna says:

    My husband and I live in a central apartment on the lower level and have never needed the heat on in winter even with cold midwest winters! In fact, somehow the heat in the basement warms our bathroom floor–a nice treat! I am not sure of the temp but I like it so much more than summer when we barely run the AC. In summer we manage the temperature by keeping our blinds closed all the time (also a privacy issue). I do miss the sunlight!

  • Jessica says:

    We had to raise ours from 65, to 68. We have a newborn and she was too cold even with layers at 65. So I’ll suck it up for this winter, my baby’s health is more important than saving a few bucks a month.

  • Stephanie says:

    We have a heat pump and usually keep it on 69 or 70, during the winter. I feel that I dont have any habits, like smoking, drinking, gambling, ect so I don’t mind to pay for our comfort in the house. We also have a fireplace that we use when it is really cold. I would rather cut the cable off or quit getting starbucks hot chocolates than make my family suffer and have to wear blankets and scarfs just to reside in the house.

  • Carrie says:

    I tried turning down the heat during the day and closing off our addition. It ended up causing problems in our addition and I had to have the plumber come to fix it.

    I keep my heat at 70 degrees. I have a thyroid condition and can’t take the cold. And at 70 degrees, I usually have two pairs of socks on and 2 sweaters.

    • jennifer says:

      I dont like to be cold and I have young children. It is winter in texas and I have it set on 74 which is cool sometimes for me.
      Summer set on 77 or 75 on hot days.

      this is one thing I wont compromise on to save $. Our bills run $100-250 a month depending on season. we have a programable thermostat but with a child who wont use covers and a baby we dont turn it colder.
      when I worked full time and kids were in daycare yes we turned it down but now it is a nanny or me in the house 7 days a week so we cant do that

  • holi says:

    Anyone have the NEST program? It works with our internet & I don’t totally understand it, but I do know I can use my apple phone to turn the heat/air up or down no matter where I am. DH gets reports when it goes up or down & reports on how we are using energy. This is his toy, but he loves it. The upfront cost was higher than I liked, but he swears it is saving money. Now if it only could get my electric side of the bill down……

  • Rebecca says:

    I think that the point of the post was NOT that you have to keep your home at 62 degrees, but rather the benefits of using a programmable thermostat. The 62 degrees was just another idea to save money. I live in MI and have 5 small children and a hubby. We keep our heat at 64-68 in the winter and we don’t have air conditioning for use in the summer either. Although 64 is not “hot” it definitely is not freezing. We don’t wear coats or scarves, just a sweatshirt maybe if we feel chilly. I think it is amusing that so many find 62 degrees “freezing” as I would have the windows open and a tshirt on if it were 62 outside today 🙂
    Different areas have different “normal” temperatures. If you consider dropping your heat down a few degrees from your normal temp you can save a few extra dollars.

    • Kate says:

      I think many of you missed the point. She’s saving a TON more than $100 in keeping her thermostat low.

      The $100 savings is about programming the thermostat for peak times. You could save that same $100, not by putting your thermostat at 62, but by programming your thermostat to fluctuate when you’re in your home and when you’re not in your home/in bed.

      We keep our house at 64 degrees. If you’re cold, put on a sweater. Our baby (now 2) has never minded, and she didn’t use a blanket either (starting with SIDS worries, of course, and now she just doesn’t). We dress warmly for sleeping and have down comforters. If we feel uncomfortable, we notch it up a few degrees.

      We use less natural resources that way and save a lot of money (not just $100, but probably an entire $1000 tank of oil).

  • Karen says:

    I think it all depends on what temps you are comfortable at and maybe nudging it just a few degrees to save money – and not running the heat or AC that much when no one is at home which easier with a programmable thermostat.

    My family, including four small girls, keep our house at 65 during the day and 58 at night during the winter. In the summer, it is 78 during the day and 72 at night (This is where I am the wimp – I can not sleep at all with the tempurature much wamer.) None of us are ever cold during the winter except for my hubby and he just wears extra layers because the rest of us are comfortable and he likes to save the money.

    Now, my brother keeps his house 65 day and night almost year round, which he is comfortable in shorts and t-shirts and his wife normally in jeans and a sweat shirt. But his girls run around in t-shirts and shorts also.

    My mom gets cold below 72 even with layers on, so we each turn our heat up when she comes to visit. And if she is staying the night, I just pile more blankets on her bed.

  • I enjoyed reading the comments on this post and cannot wait to get a programmable thermostat. So my comment is not about that.

    We moved from FL to central VA. At first I was scared at how cold winter would be. But it turns out that having brick instead of siding exterior really cuts down the bill. Our first winter bill for 1100 sq ft apt has been $40 (we have gas). Summer electric bill was $40. Spring and fall electric was $30, gas was a whopping $5 average (for using stove and oven)!

    Our bedrooms are VERY sunny in the morning so the kids do their homeschool there and everyone stays very warm even if the thermostat is on 60 degrees and it is 40 degrees outside. So in the summer, we stay in the living room where the sun doesnt shine until the afternoon and stay cool in the summer.

    I never thought that adjusting where you hang out in the house at certain times of the day can help lower the electric/gas bill so much.

    • sarah says:

      “it turns out that having brick instead of siding exterior really cuts down the bill”

      Do you know this for sure? Our house is siding, so I’d like to know.

  • shannon says:

    I think I instantly saved $10 a month by wrapping my hot water heater. Then I tackled the programmable thermostat. Set it for 59 degrees while we sleep and 63 during the day. Noticed another $10 monthly difference. We live in cold weather and are on budget bill (pay the same thing every month, regardless of the actual bill) and are paying $86 a month!

  • Our energy bills have TRIPLED in the last three months as the temperatures swing back and forth in St. Louis, leaving me and my roommate scrambling to find ways to save money. We turned down the thermostat to 68* and are actually mostly okay with it, as long as we have slippers on. We turn it down to 64 on days when we are both at work (I work 3 days a week). I asked for advice on facebook the other day and here were some other suggestions:

    – plastic over the windows
    – roll cloth or something and place at the base of doors and windows
    – bake/cook using the oven instead of the toaster oven

    A few other things we’ve started doing are curling up with our favorite blankets and watching movies or reading while drinking coffee, hot chocolate, or tea. Hoodies have become a wardrobe staple around the house.

    • Renee says:

      Keeping the thermostat turned down in the house is not putting your healthy child at risk. My husband often travels to Sweden for work, and was just there during extremely low temperatures in Nov./Dec. It’s the practice in Sweden to bundle your baby (newborn-preschool age), put them in the stroller, and put them OUTSIDE for their nap. Parents were having trouble getting their babies to sleep while he was there because it was finally to cold to put them outside. They kept them inside because the temperatures were below 0 degrees F. That’s right, they put their babies outside for over an hour daily in 1 degree F weather!
      We keep the house at 60 degrees during the day and 55 at night. We’ve purchased many 100% merino wool sweaters at Goodwill and garage sales for $3-4 each and wear good socks. Our children (5, 2, and 7 months) stay at home with me, and are very comfortable in light layers. I can’t keep a sweater on my 2yo!

    • Renee says:

      Sorry, that wasn’t a pointed reply to your post, but a general comment on the discussion. 🙂

  • lyss says:

    I have to laugh at all these comments! What you keep your house temp at can be highly variable depending on where you live and what season it is! I just checked and my house is currently 73 degrees, and that’s without any heat. I would have to put my A/C on to get it down to 62 degrees! lol
    And for those who live in the cold north, don’t hate us Texans. The weather has been nice,(I love it when we don’t have to use heat or A/C!) although January for us has been unusually warm. Hopefully this month will get cooler. We haven’t had much of a winter yet. I can’t imagine living where it’s freezing all winter, though! I bet 62 degrees probably would feel just fine if it’s only 6 degrees outside! Where I live, 62 inside is freezing cold! : )

  • Dianna Annette says:

    We do the same at our new house (3 months now) it’s 61-63 and occasionally 65 to get chill out of the air. We are just preparing ourselves so that put bills are
    Cheaper in the summer. Last month out
    Bill was a little high because our dryer was taking forever to dry.
    Guess what, we finally cleaned out vent tube, it
    must of been years. I’m glad we didn’t start a fire. And that
    Should bring the bill down, well see in a few weeks when the new full bill comes in.

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