Yesterday, when I left the house to go to work, it was 15 degrees. With a wind chill. In November. In Virginia. I was talking with a friend about heat and the upcoming winter, and not looking forward to heating bills (while contemplating raising the thermostat a degree or two), and the suggestion was made to get a programmable thermostat. We can set the temperature low during the day, and have it come up a few degrees warmer at night.
Now that the Mrs. is working a solid 9-5 M-F gig, we can investigate something like this. For years, she worked second shift or overnights, so a programmable thermostat wouldn't work for us - there was only a few hours where the house was empty. Then we had kids, and she went down to part time, so along with the off-schedule, there were one or two days during the week where someone was home all day (especially when she worked weekends, because there would be a second week day she'd be home).
So, basically, I have no idea whatsoever what's a good brand of programmable thermostat. I'm fairly confident in my skills for installation (I figure if I can install a dimmer switch without electrocuting myself, a programmable thermostat should be about the same complexity), so it comes down to brand and features. Also, never having used one, I'm figuring there will be some trial-and-error when it comes to turning the heat/air conditioning up/down.
The US DOE claims a significant savings - 5-15% of your heating bill - with a programmable unit. I find it interesting that their default temp is several degrees higher than our regular setting, and is in fact even higher than the new temp I was thinking of raising the thermostat to... It does makes sense, though - with our current lifestyle, we should be able to run the furnace at a significantly lower temperature for half the day, and bring it up as the Mrs. and I get home for just the night.
So, anyone got a recommendation for a good programmable thermostat?
That is all.