Talk to your landlord about installing a programmable thermostat

Why? When your home is empty, your heating and cooling systems are still using energy to maintain the temperature set on your thermostat. A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically use less energy when you're away from home, then revert to your preferred temperature by the time you return. Programming a thermostat makes saving energy easy—you can set it and forget it.
Benefits to your landlord:

More than one-third of homes with central heating or cooling currently use a programmable thermostat. This means that renters increasingly expect to have access to a programmable thermostat to manage their energy use. Installing a programmable thermostat can serve as an attractive selling point, and make their rental a more efficient and cost-effective place to live for current and future tenants.

Step by step:

  1. Ask your landlord to consider installing a programmable thermostat. It is one of the easiest ways for you to save money and for your landlord to improve the energy efficiency of the home.

  2. When selecting a thermostat, encourage your landlord to consider the following:

    • Compatibility with your heating or cooling system. Programmable thermostats are compatible with most homes. If you have a heat pump, your landlord should consult a certified HVAC specialist before selecting a programmable thermostat, since heat pumps can require specially designed thermostats to operate cost-effectively.
    • Number needed. If you have zoned heating or cooling, you may need more than one programmable thermostat.
    • Flexibility. Many models allow separate programming for each day of the week.
    • "Learning" ability or auto-schedule. Thermostats with adaptive recovery abilities can maximize savings by adjusting the settings based on weather conditions like humidity. Other types can learn your schedule without being programmed at all.
    • Remote control. Some newer models can connect to your Wi-Fi at home, so you can program and adjust your thermostat from your phone, tablet or computer.
  3. Program your thermostat for energy savings. Below are a few guidelines to set your programmable thermostat for both comfort and savings.

    • Set your "home-occupied" temperature. As a guideline, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 68°F for heating and 78°F for cooling while you are awake at home.
    • Set your "away from home" temperature. Setting your home's temperature at least 10°F higher in the summer and 10°F lower in the winter is a good rule of thumb.

    • To save even more, create an "asleep" setting, too. Program your thermostat at least 10°F lower in the winter or 4°F higher in the summer while you're sleeping.

Actions you can take now:

  • Even without a programmable thermostat, you can still save energy by manually setting your thermostat to an energy-saving level when you are at home and turning the temperature back when you leave home or go to sleep.

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