Programmable thermostats come in a number of varieties. Since you have a heat pump, you want to look for one that is specifically made to be used with a heat pump. Otherwise, you might find your heating bills going up significantly.
- The key feature you are looking for is called adaptive recovery. This is important for the winter because it allows the heat pump to "ramp up" to the desired temperature instead of trying to meet it quickly.
- If the heat pump tries to reach the desired temperature quickly, it will often engage the emergency heat, which will add to your heating costs instead of saving you money.
- One other feature to consider is how much schedule control you have. Some low-end thermostats use the same schedule every day, whereas others allow you to set one schedule for weekdays and another for weekends.
Installing a new thermostat is usually fairly easy if you are a DIYer, but since you are in an apartment, you may want to allow the owners to handle the install in case anything goes wrong.
For more information:
Read Steve Saunders' Q&A "Does a programmable thermostat really save 20% on my utility bills?"