I’ve been on an energy-saving kick for quite a while now. But I only got around to installing a programmable thermostat a few years back. Once I did, I kicked myself for taking so long. If you pay for your own heat and air conditioning and you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you’re losing money and creating worry. Want the slickest system on the block? The latest programmable thermostats can be controlled via a web interface …

Lets start with the dollars and sense. Exactly how much money are you losing?

The Federal government’s Energy Star program conservatively states:

Programmable thermostats that have earned the ENERGY STAR help you save money and keep your home comfortable by automatically adjusting your temperature settings while you are asleep or away, saving you about $100 per year.

(Don’t scoff at that figure. I’d reckon that it was calculated long before the days of $2.00+ heating oil.)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers pages go into more detail:

By turning your thermostat back 10� to 15� for 8 hours, you can save about 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill�a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.

With a programmable thermostat, you enter a daily schedule … just set and forget. The thermostat will automatically turn the heat down when you go to sleep and turn it up in the morning before you get out of bed. Then, it will turn the heat down again after you’ve headed out the door for work, and turn it up just before you return home.

What could be better than a programmable thermostat? How about a programmable thermostat with a web browser interface!

The Proliphix Basic Series Internet Thermostats use a calendar interface to set the morning, daytime, evening , and sleeping patterns for each day of the week. The unit can even be controlled from outside the home. Remote management capabilities are provided–from anywhere in the world–through secure server software. The downside is that the Proliphix device needs to be hard wired via Ethernet (sorry, no Wi-Fi, just yet).

While the Proliphix unit will set you back about four big ones, simple programmable thermostats start at under fifty bucks.

[tags]programmable thermostat[/tags]