Thermostat Decision

Hi! I just moved into a new apartment, and seeing that I live in Florida I'd love to save as much money cooling/heating the place as possible. I spend most of the day out of the house, and I'd like to put in a programmable thermostat that will control things for me.
My last apartment, I installed one myself and unfortunately it had a heat pump and I had to buy the most expensive model that handled that. This unit I'm not too sure of. Is there an easy way, without removing the thermostat or anything to tell if its a heatpump or an AC/heater?
Already, when turning on the heat I can smell the dust cooking off the elements so I'm assuming its just an electric heater, though it was 40 degrees outside when I finally turned it on. Is there any damage that could be done by installing a thermostat and assuming it was a heatpump when its actually a normal electric heater or visa versa?
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Does the thermostat say "cool-off-heat", or "cool-off-heat- emer heat". Heat pump if the latter. Also, most HP stats will have a light that is marked 'Aux" or possibly 'Sup heat". I'm in S.Tx and VERY few apartments have HP's. The ones that do not have gas are almost always just electric heat. Cheaper initially and cheaper to maintain. The tenant pays the bills so the complex doesn't care what it costs to run. You need the right thermostat. Actuallly there shouldn't be that much price difference between the two. Also, a programmable on a heat pump can possibly cost you money instead of saving it. Depends on the outside temp of course, but for your area, figure the heat pump costs about 1/3 as much as the heat strips. If the temp is set back enough, when the program calls for the temp to raise to the desired occupied temp, it can bring the strips on also,wiping out your savings.There are lots of tricks of the trade modifications to get some savings, and make different thermostats work, but they are probably beyond the skills of a homeowner and best left to pros. Anyway, most of the people I have ever talked to who pay their own bills in apts w/ electric heat, say their bills are not really that high. Good luck Larry
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Well the one I installed in my previous apartment was 70 bucks and was specially designed to work for both regular and heatpumps and the others of the same model without the heat pump function were about 30 dollars less expensive. I'm glad that I shouldn't have to worrya bout that this time, as there is no emer. heat switch on the thermostat.
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