Set Back Your Thermostat and Save

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Winter weather seems to bring out the nesting instinct in me. We’re content to build a fire at night and stay home and watch the furling wind and sometimes snow outside the window. One of the best improvements we’ve made to just about every house we’ve lived in is replacing the old round dial room thermometer with a setback or programmable unit. Over the years the ability to program the device to give us heat when and only when we want it has saved us money. and not squandered heat when we’re not there to enjoy it. Since $1,300 is the cost of the average household utility bill saving on heating and cooling costs is significant and a programmable thermostat makes it easy.
At we analyze the cost of hundreds of home repair, decorating and improvement projects such as replacing an old thermostat with a new programmable unit. A heating contractor will charge $144, but a DIYer can do it for $100, the cost of the unit. That’s assuming you have electrical tools and experience and it’s a direct swap so no new wiring is needed. Here’s a link to what’s involved:Install a Programmable Thermostat. Whoever does the work, it’s a good way to let you lower the heat in your home when no one’s there and raise the temperature when everyone’s home to enjoy it.


Gene and Katie Hamilton are authors of 20 home improvement books and creators of, a website that compares the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of repair, decorating and remodeling projects. Their weekly column Do It Yourself or Not is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.
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