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Set a Thermostat Timer

Default setting

No thermostat timer setup

Better setting

Thermostat scheduled to run only when you’re home


Why change?

By default, your air conditioner and heater may be turned on the entire day, leading you to waste money and generate an excess amount of greenhouse gas. Using a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule when your heating or air-conditioning unit should be on, off, or at a reduced operation.

Setting a thermostat timer will save you money. estimates that “you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.” This means $1,200 savings over 10 years for the average U.S. household in the average U.S. climate (source).

This one-time change may be the king of sustainable default settings. Derek Duran, a masters student of Environmental Science and Public Affairs at Indiana University, says that “this is one of the easiest ways to combat climate change on an individual level – easier than going vegetarian or carless.”


  1. Get a Programmable thermostat (Amazon link) or a Smart thermostat (Amazon link).
  2. Set your thermostat on a schedule. For example, turn off your A/C unit or increase the temperature when you’re at work.

Enjoy the ongoing benefits of your updated default setting! Get an email when a new one is posted.


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