Costs associated with heating and cooling account for half of many households’ energy bills. However, advances in energy saving technology, in particular thermostats, present opportunities to reduce those costs by saving energy.  But finding a thermostat to help you reduce the cost of energy in your home can be confusing. With so many thermostats to choose from, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s the right thermostat for me?” Well, we at Virginia Energy Sense have put together an easy primer on thermostats, so you can make the right choice for your needs. Below is a quick guide about thermostats to help you choose the best one for your household to help you lower unnecessarily high energy bills:

  • Manual/ Non-Programmable Thermostats: Manual, or non-programmable, thermostats, allow you to control the temperature setting manually, and offer a digital read-out of the temperature setting. While these thermostats are not as flexible as the programmable or smart/learning thermostats, they are a great option for individuals who spend most of their time at home and who are accustomed to manually managing their own in-home temperature.
  • Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures for each day throughout the week. It makes heating and cooling your home during the times you are and aren’t home easier and more efficient and reduces your energy bill. For example, during the summer, if you leave for work at 8:30 a.m. and return home at 5:30 p.m., you could use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your temperature from 78 degrees to 82 degrees at 8:30 a.m. as you leave for work and automatically adjust it back to 78 degrees at 5:30 p.m. as you return home. With a programmable thermostat, you can basically set your schedule on the thermostat and not have to worry about it ever again.
  • Smart or Learning Thermostats: Smart, or learning, thermostats allow you to connect with them via Wi-Fi and allows you to control your home heating and cooling system remotely through your smartphone, computer, or tablet. These thermostats can also adapt to your preferred daily temperatures and establishes an automatic schedule using built-in sensors, as well as the phone’s location to save energy while you’re away or asleep. According to independent studies, the some of these smart thermostats can save consumers about 10 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills.

You can visit to learn more about  thermostats and how they can help you save energy, as well as many other tips on ways to save energy and money.

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!