This was my second winter I have lived in my house. The first winter beginning in December of 2009, I neglected to buy and install a programmable thermostat. In November of 2010, looking for ways to lower my gas bill, I decided to make the purchase. The thermostat cost $40. Looking at the installation, average temperature, the historical price of gas, and the gas bills themselves, do programmable thermostats really save you money?
Let’s find out…
I joke that the only tool I own is a checkbook. In other words, I wasn’t born with the handyman gene. In all honesty, after purchasing the thermostat it sat in my closet for two weeks. I was afraid that if I installed it, I would break something.
It turns out, the installation process was much easier then I thought. It took only 30 minutes.
What I’m trying to say is, if I could install a programmable thermostat, ANYONE can.
Reviewing my Gas Bill
The first step to finding out if a programmable thermostat actually saved me money this winter is to compare gas bills for the winter months of this year and last.
Gas Bill for Winter 2009/2010
- December = $98.53
- January = $102.17
- February = $211.32
- Total = $412.02
Gas Bill for Winter 2010/2011
- December = $41.39
- January = $121.12
- February = 121.95
- Total = $284.46
- Total Savings = $127.56
What was the Weather Like?
I paid $127.56 less for gas during the three coldest months of the year this year over last year. Was this savings due to the programmable thermostat or was it just due to the weather?
Here are the average temperatures from last winter compared to this winter.
Average Low Temperature in Winter 2009/2010 for:
- December = 26 degrees
- January = 20 degrees
- February = 26 degrees
- Average = 24 degrees
Average Low Temperature in Winter 2010/2011 for:
- December = 21 degrees
- January = 20 degrees
- February= 25 degrees
- Average = 22 degrees
Even with a lower average temperature by 2 degrees, my gas bills were still $127.56 lower this year.
The Price of Natural Gas
The next variable I need to look at is the actual price of gas. Was the savings due to the programmable thermostat or from a decrease in the price of natrual gas?
Here is the comparison in cost from this winter to last.
Natural Gas Cost Per Therm
What was my Total Savings?
It’s hard to predict the exact savings from installing a programmable thermostat because I don’t know how to measure the impact of temperature changes. Based on my results, I did have considerably lower bills this year. Part of that was due to the price of natural gas decreasing. The majority came from the only variable that changed this year to last–the programmable thermostat.
By looking at the $40 purchase price of a programmable thermostat as in investment, I’m comfortable saying that I doubled my return in just three months. In other words, an $80 savings. One of the best $40 investments I’ve ever made and one that if you haven’t made yet, you should.