I am stupid. I can’t even program a TiVo, so it should come as no surprise that I don’t understand the concept of a programmable thermostat.

I always assumed that when I programmed a temperature into my very nice thermostat, the thermostat would tell my furnace to start up or shut down at that precise temperature and moment.

For example, I set my temperature to 60°F at 9 p.m. and for 65°F at 5:30 a.m. It is cold at night, but that is why God invented blankets and thermal pajamas.

The thermostat clicks at 9 p.m. and shuts down the heat. I go to sleep later, but as I am prone to do, I wake up in the middle of the night. Several times I have felt the heat from the register and checked the thermostat around 3 or 4 a.m. The darn thing is on and the setting is 65°. Huh? I checked my program and it still says 60°. What gives?

It appears everything is set correctly, but the thermostat has a mind of its own.

It does have a mind of its own.

I contacted my contractor and he said a feature known as “intelligent recovery” caused this. This means that the start time in the morning is adjusted so that when my “feet hit the floor” at 5:30 a.m. it will already be 65°.

I was going to pursue a response with, “Why didn’t you tell me…” but then I read the owner’s manual. The light bulb went off over my head - as dim as I, er, it may have been.