August 7, 2018

By: Patricia Cermignano
As technology continues to evolve, it should not come as a surprise that the design and functionalities of thermostats have progressed as well. While both Programmable Thermostats and Smart Thermostats help to regulate temperature and to manage energy bills, there are significant differences between the two types that are important to understand.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable Thermostats are thermostats designed to adjust and change temperature throughout a house according to a series of programed settings that take effect at different times of the day. These devices feature large digital screens which make adjusting and reading the thermostat easier and clearer. There are three different programmable thermostat models: 7-day model, 5+2- day model and 5-1-1 model. Below is a brief overview of each model:

  • 7-Day Model: This model allows you to create a different temperature schedule for each day of the week and offers the most flexibility.
  • 5+2-Day Model: This model allows you to create one temperature schedule for weekdays and another schedule for weekends.
  • 5-1-1 Model: This model allows you to create one schedule for weekdays, one schedule for Saturdays and one schedule for Sundays.

In addition to the thermostat models, there are four pre-programed settings for each day: Wake, Day, Evening & Sleep.
By upgrading to a programmable thermostat, a homeowner can save up to $180 a year if the thermostat is programed correctly. According to Energy Star, “The $180 savings assumes a typical, single-family home with a 10-hour daytime setback of 8°F in winter and setup 7°F in summer, and an 8-hour nighttime setback of 8°F in winter and a setup of 4°F in summer”.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats are WiFi enabled thermostats that automatically adjust temperatures throughout a house by way of an Internet-connected device, such as a smartphone or a home automation system. Unlike a programmable thermostat that requires programming directly on the device, a smart thermostat can be programed and adjusted remotely via an app and an Internet connection. In fact, some smart thermostats can detect when a homeowner is not at home and can automatically switch into “Away” mode to help save energy.
In addition to providing convenience and control at your fingertips, smart thermostat features include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishing a schedule that automatically adjusts to energy-saving temperature settings when you are asleep or away from your house.
  • Delivers trackable and manageable data on home energy use.
  • Allows a homeowner to control and adjust the heating and cooling remotely.

According to Energy Star, “if everyone used a smart thermostat, we would save 56 trillion BTUs of energy and offset 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year, equivalent to the emissions of 1.2 million vehicles”.

In order to get the most out of your programmable thermostat or smart thermostat, there are a few tips that we recommend you follow:
Have your programmable thermostat or smart thermostat installed by a certified HVAC technician
Understand how to program your thermostat when you are out of the house or on vacation so you can reduce the energy consumption and costs during that time
If your thermostat is battery-operated, remember to change the batteries at least once a year (or when indicated on your thermostat screen)
Not only does our company want to help keep you comfortable and save you money, we want to help educate you on HVAC topics and issues as well. If you have any questions on programmable thermostats or smart thermostats, please call our office at (610) 642-6323 or visit our website for more information.

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