Monday, August 8, 2011

Installing a Programmable Thermostat

Note: This was one of my most worthwhile projects ever, whether viewed from the time/money aspect, the green aspect, or the pure joy aspect.  If you have a screwdriver and $35, please treat yourself with this project!

Best. Project. Ever.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve your life while saving money is to install a programmable thermostat.  It took me about 6 weeks of suffering through getting out of bed in a cold house (yep, too cheap to run the heat at night!) before I looked into this. 

It turns out that you can get a decent programmable thermostat for about $35.  If you do the math, that's about 25 cents a day to be able to wake up in a warm house every day for one winter.  So worth it!  And that's not even counting the savings on your electric/gas bill!!!

I chose one with a 5/1/1 setting, meaning that I can program Monday through Friday to do one thing, Saturday to do something different, and Sunday can be different again!

Taking the old thermostat off was easy, and I labeled all the wires as I disconnected them (mine had 5, but some systems have more).  The colors weren't quite what the directions had promised they might be, but I figured it out.

Maybe another 10 minutes of work got the new thermostat installed.  I turned it on and... the screen was messed up.  So of course even the seemingly simplest of projects required a second trip to the hardware store!  Now I'm doubly pro at installing thermostats, since I got to do it twice.

In the months since I installed it, I think I've been saving a good 20% on my electric bills.  Plus, it's really luxurious to have my apartment the right temperature when I get out of bed, when I'm at work, when I get home, and when I go to bed again.  Now I'll just have to decide if I'm going to leave it in my apartment for the next people once I move out!


  1. This was actually one of the things Osh and I had as a requirement for moving into a new place (that they either had one or would allow us to install one). It's one of the best things for our apartment, and has really lowered our electric bill!!!

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