Though programmable thermostats have been in the market for a while, most consumers find them difficult to program — tiny print on the inside of the control unit, hard-to-remember "codes," and confusing readouts.  Now manufacturers are developing a whole new generation of programmable units that make saving heating and cooling dollars a breeze.

One new programmable thermostat is the Lennox Comfort Sense 7000 Series Touchscreen, which has a large, backlit display with intuitive folders for different features. Homeowners can program scheduled startups, adjust programming for either a week-long or five/two day schedule, individual controls for temperature and humidity  and dual fuel controls which can alternate between electric and gas operation for maximum efficiency, ideal for solar powered homes.

Honeywell’s Vision Pro 8000 offers touch screen programmability and up to 33% savings in energy costs if installed and programmed properly. It also offers dual power source compatibility and a vacation hold feature.

Check with your HVAC contractor to determine the best application for your home and it’s energy sources and demands.