A programmable thermostat can be one of the better bang-for-your-buck investments for improving efficiency at home, no matter what kind of heating or cooling system you have. But what about modern-day smart thermostats—are they worth the time, money and effort to install?
Let’s take a look.
There are three common types of thermostats and understanding the differences among them is a good way to start the discussion about which option is right for you.
Basic thermostats control your heating and cooling systems, allowing manual adjustment of temperature. Other than that primary function, they don’t do much.
Programmable thermostats do the same basic job as a basic thermostat—controlling temperature—but with one important additional feature: a timer. Programmable thermostats feature different “modes,” depending on the model you own. Ranked in order here from most to least flexible, these modes include:
Smart (Wi-Fi) thermostats build on the control offered by a programmable thermostat by adding one important function: Wi-Fi control. With a smart thermostat, you can program your HVAC equipment from your phone or wireless mobile device—a great feature if you spend a lot of time away, or if you own a second home.
Smart phones do some other cool things too. For one, they take cues from your behaviors to learn about how you heat and cool your home. You can “teach” a smart thermostat to shut off when you leave the house, for example, and turn back on in time to make the house cozy by the time you return.
Others offer geofencing features. Once you get a certain distance from your home, they automatically switch to “away” mode and then back to “home” mode when you return. Then there are features like remote sensors, a power extender kit, thermostats that work with existing infrastructures that are compatible with Apple HomeKit.
Some smart thermostats will even estimate how long it will take to make the change you’ve requested, so you can see how effective your climate control system really is, while others will allow you to see your energy consumption in real time or adjust themselves based on ambient conditions such as humidity.
If you only have a basic thermostat, installing a programmable or smart thermostat is a sensible move. By making it easy to set your indoor climate to suit your lifestyle, your thermostat could pay for itself in energy savings alone the first year you own it.
Owning one of these two devices will also make it easier for you to maintain comfort and could even extend the life of your HVAC equipment by reducing its run time.
If you already own a programmable thermostat and are considering adding a smart thermostat, that’s a tougher call. Mostly, the decision comes down to how important remote control is to you. For example, smart thermostats are a godsend in a second home, where you might spend weeks—or even months—away and can adjust the thermostat from afar to counteract a sudden change of weather. If you spend most of your time at home and have a fairly regular routine, a programmable thermostat might be enough.
Programmable and smart thermostats are both simple, convenient and powerful ways to manage your home comfort and save money in the process. They’ll pay for themselves quickly and give you more control than ever over your heating and cooling equipment.
If you have a basic thermostat, upgrading to a smart or programmable thermostat is a no-brainer—do it now and you’ll save money on energy bills all year! We recommend you check out some of the more popular models on the market today, including options from ecobee, Emerson, Honeywell and Nest.
Want another way to save money? Switch your plan to Discount Power! Enroll in one of our money-saving electricity or natural gas plans online today, or contact us to talk about smart, affordable energy plan choices where you live!