Are you debating whether or not to invest in a programmable thermostat?
Smart thermostats have quite a few benefits – the device helps you save a lot of time, it maintains your house at a comfortable temperature, and some models have cool advanced features. Moreover, homeowners who have programmed their devices the right way can benefit from yearly savings on their energy bills.
What Is the Purpose of Using an Electronic Programmable Thermostat?
A programmable thermostat is a device that allows you to schedule your home’s heating and cooling.
A regular thermostat has to always be adjusted manually, while a programmable unit can change the temperature automatically, once it has been programmed to the desired settings.
The majority of modern thermostats are digital and have a component called ‘the thermistor’ – this is the thing that is responsible for measuring the temperature.
Read: HVAC Thermostat Problems
Programmable Thermostat Features
Most homeowners are used to thinking of a programmable thermostat as a device that can automatically change the temperature in their house. But there are so many more features that you can take advantage of.
- Touch screens
- Wi-Fi capability
- Mobile device syncing
- Backlit displays
- Bluetooth capability
- Reminders (for example, to change the filter)
- Google or Alexa compatibility
- Smart recovery capabilities (that’s when cooling or heating begins early)
- Vacation features
Some smart thermostats can even work according to your local weather forecast.
You can also choose how much customization you want:
- A 5-2 model is perfect for the households with consistent schedules on weekdays and weekends.
- A 5-1-1 model allows you to have different settings for Saturday and Sunday.
- A 7-day model lets you have a separate setting for every day of the week. This is a great option for those who have varying schedules or for the summertime, for example, when the day-to-day activities might become quite unpredictable.
Why Are the Advantages of Using Digital Thermostats?
So, what are the benefits of a programmable thermostat?
First of all, programmable thermostats help make sure that the temperature in your house always stays in a comfortable range. If you are tired of returning from work to a freezing or boiling-hot house, then you should definitely consider getting a smart thermostat as it will ‘get the house ready’.
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The advanced features are another huge benefit. Some programmable thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature in your house via smartphone or you might never even have to touch the device as some models can take the local weather patterns into consideration.
You’ll be able to save plenty of time with a programmable thermostat. Imagine not having to manually adjust the temperature every single day – all you would have to do is set a schedule for the week, and then enjoy the results.
Do Smart Thermostats Really Save Money?
The truth is that a programmable thermostat can save you money. But that will happen only if you manage to use the device correctly.
How Do Programmable Thermostats Save Energy?
The main feature of a smart thermostat that is going to help you save energy is the reduction of the amount of heating and cooling when there is nobody in the house. The same happens when you fall asleep.
Is a Programmable Thermostat More Efficient?
Some might say that there is no point in having a smart thermostat if you are a homeowner who is already used to adjusting the temperature manually.
However, that is not completely true.
Whether you completely shut your HVAC system down before going to work or choose to simply lower the temperature, in any case, you’ll be returning to a relatively hot or cold house. Once you come back, you are going to make huge adjustments to the temperature.
This, of course, makes you feel less comfortable in your house, but immediately lowering or bringing the temperature up for more than a couple of degrees will actually make the system work a lot harder to try and gain the set temperature.
As a result, your system might overwork. That leads to higher bills and a worn-out unit.
On the other hand, we have a programmable thermostat that gradually adjusts the temperature. By the way, your savings are going to increase even more if you opt for zone heating and cooling (but you might need to get a few devices to be able to do that).
The Nest Leaning Thermostat, for example, can save 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. On average, customers saved $140 a year with this programmable device.
Disadvantages of Thermostat
Even though programmable thermostats can save you a few hundred bucks per year, that doesn’t mean that it is going to happen in your particular case.
You might not save any money, if you stay home all the time (your HVAC system will need a lot of energy to keep you comfortable) or if your house is poorly insulated (letting the heat produced by the HVAC system escape is a terrible waste of money).
Another issue – your existing HVAC system might not be compatible with a smart thermostat. Outdated systems might not be able to work with a programmable device at all, while a lot of other units are going to require an additional C wire.
Some homeowners can find smart thermostats to be too complex. After all, you should be able to adjust the settings (at least, at the beginning) and connect the thermostat to your smartphone, if there is such a feature.
This might be a bit too challenging for those who don’t feel comfortable working with technology.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Programmable Thermostat?
Another con of a smart thermostat is that these things aren’t cheap.
The actual unit will cost you anywhere between $80 and $140, while the cost of installation can be as high as $300.
The installation and labor costs are going to depend on a wide range of factors. The professional might have to add wiring or circuity or cut into walls, for example.
What Is the Average Life of a Programmable Thermostat?
These devices don’t have a set lifespan, but, on average, a programmable thermostat will last you about 10 years. If you manage to regularly clean the device and fix any issue whenever there is such a need, then the lifespan will be increased.
Here are a few signs that it’s time to replace your thermostat:
- Your HVAC system is short-cycling
- The readings of the thermostat are inaccurate
- The energy bills have skyrocketed
- The thermostat is not responding to any changes in settings
How Do I Choose the Right Programmable Thermostat?
- First things first, you would have to find out what smart thermostats are compatible with your existing HVAC system.
- Learn more about thermostat types and choose the one that is suitable for your lifestyle. Take a look at the programming options that we have already listed above.
- Finally, find a professional who can install the thermostat for you. Here, you would have to decide what is the best location for the device – make sure it is not installed in direct sunlight or too close to windows and doorways.
Is It Worth Getting a Programmable Thermostat?
A programmable thermostat is certainly not a cheap device, but is it worth the investment?
In general, you’ll be able to take advantage of a smart thermostat, if your house tends to be unoccupied for several hours during the day. You should also be willing to spend some time at the beginning on programming the device, otherwise, the benefits might be pretty much non-existent. If you are truly motivated to save energy, then a programmable thermostat might help you to save over $100 per year. The device also helps optimize the HVAC system’s workload which means that the lifespan of your device will be prolonged – and that’s a great bonus on its own.