Ok, just want to throw this out there. I live in the high desert, 6800' or so. My house is pretty well insulated, and gets great passive solar gain. Daytime temperature (heat shuts off at 67-68 F) gets to about 78, plus or minus depending on where you measure even if it's 40 outside. Heat is electric baseboard with standard dumb wall thermostats. The tstats are getting a little war torn, I'm thinking it's probably time to freshen up. The big question, is it likely to be worthwhile to spend a little extra (OK double but still only like $45 per) for programmable tstats? An extra $20 per thermostat could be made up pretty quickly even with modest efficiency improvements but I'm not sure where I'm going to find any substantial savings with programming. I can handle a little programming but I see so many people completely baffled by a programmable thermostat that I try not to install them without good reason. Does it make sense?

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Savings depends a LOT on how it's programmed. I've even done a setup with a contactor, 24v transformer and standard 24v thermostat. Give MANY more options.

Yes, in fact I did just that for my kitchen toe-kick heater because the original thermostat was on a north exterior wall next to a sliding glass door where it was also behind the drapery. The low voltage aspect was mostly to make relocation easy. The only worse place I can imagine is if it were outside. Works perfectly now.
I have been trying to imagine where programming might increase efficiency but in the past when I have had programmables, the biggest savings would come from reducing set temperature during the day when mostly nobody was home. In this house it doesn't kick on during the day anyway thanks to the solar gain. Maybe overnight for few hours if we're not using the wood stove?

Since the sun heats the house to 78f during the day, cutting the power from the time you leave for work until the sun starts heating the space will save the money. You are "paying for" some of the 78f temp by running the heat until the solar gain can take over. By letting the temp fall before the solar gain takes over you may only be 74f during the afternoon.

I've reviewed the data for my own house and on those "shoulder days" the temp will go DOWN until about noon then go back up due to solar gain. Temp @ 3:30 is a cooler than if I would have let the heat run all day. On the colder days the heat will kick on @ 3:30 to bring the temp up to 68f.
Wake @ 5:30: 70f
Day @ 8:30: 60f
Return @ 3:30: 68f
Sleep @ 11:00: 65f

Good plan, thanks. That looks pretty much like how I used to program mine (when I had one). Maybe it will be worthwhile to get the programmables. Even saving a few minutes of on time in a couple of low periods would likely offset the added cost in a winter or two.

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