Choosing Programmable Thermostats

Choosing your programmable thermostat can be difficult. Manufacturers offer different features and it can be hard to determine the best fit for your heating and cooling needs. Here is an overview of everything you need to know about choosing the best programmable thermostat for you.

As a rule, programmable thermostats offer four pre-programmed settings and maintain those settings within two degrees. Additional features vary by model, but most Energy Star qualified products include:

  • Digital, backlit displays
  • Touchpad screen programming
  • Voice and/or phone programming
  • Hold/Vacation features
  • Indicators which tell you when it’s time to change air filters
  • Indicators that signal malfunctioning of heating/cooling systems
  • Adaptive Recovery/ Smart Recovery features (allows the system to sense how long it will take to reach the next set-point temperature and reaches that temperature by the set time)

Because a programmable thermostat is designed to work best when inactive for periods of approximately 8 hours more, consider your schedule. When are you away from home for work, school, and other events? When are you asleep? By eliminating your need for heat or air conditioning, you save around 10% off of your energy bills.

Programmable thermostats come in three versions: 7-day, 5+2-day, or the 5-1-1-day.

  • The 7-day is good for homeowners who have a different schedule each day of the week, as a different program can be scheduled for each day. This type of programmable thermostat offers the most flexibility as you not only get a different program for each day, but most models also offer four possible temperature periods per day.
  • The 5+2-day is a good fit for homeowners who have the same schedule for the weekdays and the same schedule for both days of the weekend.
  • The 5-1-1-day is suitable for people who have the same schedule each day of the week, but a different schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

Other considerations for your programmable thermostat include digital versus electromechanical, or a model that combines the two.

Some find that a digital programmable thermostat is hard to program, but it offers the most in terms of flexible scheduling: multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time.

If you are not digitally inclined, you may want to choose an electromechanical model, which uses pegs or sliding bars to operate and has fewer programming options.

When choosing your programmable thermostat, look for the Energy Star label.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about choosing a programmable thermostat and other HVAC topics, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Home Comfort services the Mishawaka/South Bend areas of Indiana.

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