A Scotsman living in Japan
With the rising uncertainty over oil supplies due to the popular revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East it is becoming more important than ever to reduce home fuel consumption bills. Added to this uncertainty is the growing realization that both the developed world and the developing world must work to reduce carbon emissions to try and halt climate change.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways you can reduce your heating and cooling bills is to install a good programmable thermostat in your home. The US Green Building Council and the US Department of Environmental Protection recommend installing programmable thermostats in the home because they can lower energy bills by as much as 30% annually.
This is achieved by programming the thermostat to match the schedules of the inhabitants of a house. In this way over-heating and over-cooling an empty house is avoided and savings are made. The government recommended settings for programmable thermostats are 67 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. When you are not at home you should reduce these settings by at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are 4 basic types of programmable thermostat: 1 week (1 program); 5+2 (1 program for weekdays and 1 for weekends); 5-1-1 (1 program for weekdays, 1 for Saturday and 1 for Sunday); and 7 day (1 program for each day of the week). Which type of thermostat you choose depends on your life style and your budget.
Finally, before committing to a purchase you should read some reviews. You might be able to track down a cheap programmable thermostat. Also make sure that the device you are thinking about buying has an Energy Star seal of approval.