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A home heating system with brains

Programmable thermostats offer convenience, savings

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No matter what type of heating system you have, one of the keys to its operation is the thermostat. Most people don't give much thought to that little box on the wall, other than to set it and forget it -- but the right thermostat can hold the key to both energy savings and improved comfort. At the lower end of the cost spectrum, simple slide-setting thermostats can be surprisingly inaccurate. It's something of a guess as to what temperature you are actually setting, since you are relying on the estimated position of a little slide marker set between two numbers. What you think is a setting of 68 degrees may in fact be several degrees higher then that, which wastes energy. And on a cold morning when you inch the slide up a little for additional heat, it's too easy to head off to work and forget to move it back, resulting in a heating system that runs all day when no one is there to enjoy it. The answer to both of those problems is the programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats...