Your Programmable Thermostat Questions Answered

Heating and cooling your home represents a large chunk of your annual utility costs. Energy.gov reports that heating your home is the single biggest energy expense, accounting for 45 percent of total energy costs. Finding simple ways to save on that expense can mean a lot more money in your pocket and a smaller carbon footprint, too.

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When you first set out to consciously lower your heating and cooling costs, you will likely come across advice about adjusting your temperature a few degrees, paying for proper maintenance, and winterizing your home (even in warmer climates). This is all great advice but they take some effort to accomplish. What if there was a way to save money on heating and cooling that was as easy as the push of a button?

In recent years there has been a lot of chatter surrounding programmable thermostats and how their efficiency can save you money on utility costs. With many devices in the home now becoming “smart” ones, a programmable thermostat is even more helpful in reducing and maintaining the cost of heating and cooling a home.

There are questions that surround upgrading from a traditional thermostat to a programmable, smart one. How much will it cost upfront? Will it really save me money? How easy is a programmable thermostat to use?

Switching to cutting-edge technology can seem a little intimidating but is well worth the cost savings. Often once you start using it, you find that it really isn’t as difficult as you first imagined.

So let’s take a closer look at programmable thermostats and why you may want to install one for your own heating and cooling needs.

What Does a Programmable Thermostat Actually Do?

There are several different programmable thermostats on the market but essentially they all do the same thing: allow consumers to have pre-determined temperatures set that vary based on the time of day, day of week, and even the weather outside. These thermostats automate the heating and cooling of your home, but still allow for plenty of human input so adjustments most closely match the needs and wants of the users. Some are programmable via a digital wall thermostat, while others also have a “smart” component that allows users to input settings remotely through mobile devices or websites.

How Much Money Can a Programmable Thermostat Actually Save Me?

Energy.gov reports that a programmable thermostat saves consumers an average of 10 percent annually on heating and cooling costs. Pairing a programmable thermostat with an energy-efficient heating and cooling system can make a huge impact on your annual utility bills and more than pay for themselves over time. Savings aside, programmable thermostats just make life easier and allow for more comfortable homes.

Which Programmable Thermostat Should I Buy?

Due to their popularity, every year several more quality programmable thermostats hit the market. Most programmable thermostats are an affordable upgrade that is also pretty easy to install.

If you are just starting your programmable thermostat search, here are just a few of the options available to you:

Venstar T7800 Digital Programmable Thermostat

The Venstar Colortouch thermostat does double duty – it helps save money and energy by regulating the temperature in your home, and it makes your home more beautiful by actings as a digital photo frame, able to hold up to 100 photos! The Venstar Colortouch has a touchscreen and built in wifi, which makes it easy to operate and easy to read what the temperature is. Another helpful feature is the ability to schedule vacation and holidays, so the regular schedule won’t take over when you’re away from home.

Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat

This is perhaps the most well-known programmable, smart thermostat and that’s really no surprise since it is backed by Google. There are no home or away schedules to program – the Nest pays attention to the rhythm of your home and adjusts accordingly. The design of it is decidedly retro, with a turn dial instead of digital buttons, which gives it a comfortable and sophisticated style. The Nest can inform your energy usage too by sending you updates and pointing out ways to improve your cooling and heating efficiency.

Honeywell’s Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

This is an excellent choice if you like the look of regular digital thermostats but want smart thermostat technology like what is available in the Nest models. The thermostat quickly adapts to the energy usage and patterns of your home and is easy to install. It comes with less of the signature Apple “bells and whistles” but may appeal to homeowners who prefer that type of setup. It costs the same as Google’s Nest so if you are more comfortable with an interface and display that shows you everything, this is the better option to purchase. These thermostats are also compatible with Mitsubishi Ductless Split Heating and Cooling Systems.

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

This Wi-Fi enabled device has sensors that know when you are home and when you are away. So even if you have it programmed to adjust temperature based on your normal schedule, it will cancel out those settings if it senses people in or out of the home. It is programmable through a smart device too, so you can change temperature from your own couch or your office.

Installing a programmable thermostat will save you a lot on energy costs and will automate heating and cooling processes in your home. Go with the programmable thermostat that makes you feel the most comfortable and enjoy the cost and energy efficiency.

Do you use a programmable thermostat in your home? What model do you use and what are your favorite features?

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