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A programmable thermostat basically allows you to configure it for different temperature settings at different times of a day, seven days a week. These thermostats are generally available in either 7 day model (all weekdays same), 5+2 day model (setting 1 for Monday to Friday, setting 2 for Saturday and Sunday), or a 5+1+1 day model (setting 1 for Monday to Friday, setting 2 for Saturday and setting 3 for Sunday.)

To program these thermostats, one needs to feed in the start and end times of the day for a particular temperature. The thermostat sustains the preset temperature for a given time period and initiates change in temperature when the period changes. Up to 4 periods in a day can generally be configured.

Examples of 7 day models are Honeywell RTH7600D and RiteTemp 6080. Then, Honeywell RTH230B is a 5+2 day model. Again, Honeywell RTH6400D and RiteTemp 6022 are 5-1-1 day models.

Buying a Thermostat

Study your own requirements and energy usage pattern and buy a thermostat which suits you the most. Some thermostats also allow you to lock them so that the settings once saved cannot be changed by an unauthorized person. A few models may even provide you the luxury of a remote control.

While you may choose any possible temperature, the temperatures commonly used range from 70°F to 78°F – comfortable enough for most people. You may use the ‘vacation’ functionality in case you are going to be away from the house for more than a day. This feature will enable the thermostat to retain a constant temperature throughout the day without any unwanted variations. You may also program your thermostat, if it is a thermostat with adaptive recovery, to reach a preset temperature by a given time on a particular day. Cool, isn’t it?

Programmable thermostats can be either electro-mechanical or electronic. Electromechanical thermostats make use of a slide or a dial to keep temperature under control. It is suggested that a programmable thermostat be kept away from places likely to trigger a false operation – that is away from skylights and strong sunlight, high-wattage lamps, sources of heat like fireplaces, chimneys, doors and windows, sources of cool air like doors, windows and refrigerators, etc.


Because it is so useful and frees of necessary things to remember, you may want to install multiple programmable thermostats.

Herewith a few steps to get you started…

  1. Before you start, make sure that you have switched off the power. Upon removing the older thermostat, make sure that wires do not retract into the conduit in the wall. One way to ensure this is to wrap the wires around a pencil.
  2. Drilling holes to mount the thermostat anchors comes next.
  3. Mounting the thermostat plate on the wall is the next step. Upon successful mounting, connect wires to the terminals.
  4. Power up the new thermostat using a suitable battery, ensure correct polarity. Affix the new thermostat to its mounting plate on the wall. When you start the thermostat for the first time, make sure to press reset to initialize its memory. If all is well till here, switch on the power supply.

A programmable thermostat saves energy by reducing the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. It helps you bring down your electricity bill and helps in saving the environment by reducing energy consumption. It also helps diminish your carbon footprint – the major cause of global warming. Make sure that the thermostat you are about to buy is certified by the federal government and has an Energy Star logo.