Smart Thermostat Vs Programmable Thermostat: Which is Better?

Smart Thermostat Vs Programmable Thermostat
Environment Smart Home Living

There are a few things that can spark a home war; seats left up or down and TP over or under the roll are two perennial favorites, but the biggest by far is the fight over the thermostat. The thermostat does offer all of us an option the other two don’t. We can compromise. In our quest for “just right” comfort, compromise usually falls within a two or three-degree range.

We’re not only picky about the temperature range we want, but also about when we want it. Few people are thrilled if a bare foot hits a cold floor when the alarm goes off. Fewer still are happy with the idea of running the furnace all day just so they can keep the pipes from freezing on a cold day in January.

That’s why smart thermostats are one of the biggest selling smart home devices out there today. The allure of having a thermostat that learns what you like and eventually adjusts the temperature to your comfort range without any intervention from you is too much for some people to resist.

Others laugh at them; saying they are spending one to two hundred dollars for an overpriced, over-hyped system that’s not needed. These are the people who favor a simpler, albeit more old-fashioned approach. They prefer a programmable, or “setback thermostat.”

So which is better? The smart, or the simple option? The choice is, of course, up to you, but here are a few things that might help you decide.

Smart Thermostats Offer Ultimate Comfort

One of the many types of thermostats available in the market today is a smart thermostat. This reliable, state-of-the-art device was designed to bring absolute comfort and convenience to its users.

As we mentioned, through the use of cloud computing, algorithms, sensors, and analyzers, this type of thermostat learns your household’s temperature preferences and adjusts your heating and cooling system accordingly. You can set a schedule of when the furnace should turn on, say 30 minutes before your alarm goes off in the morning, and tell it to get to 72 degrees in that half hour.

Smart thermostats were intelligently designed to collect and analyze your temperature preferences at any given time of day. As a result, this type of thermostat can program itself to control your heating and cooling system at the right time and adjust your home’s temperature to meet your specific needs.

Installation of a smart thermostat usually takes an extra step as most require a “C wire.” Instructions are typically included with your unit and how-to videos can also be readily found on YouTube. Setting up the thermostats initially is also a little more involved, especially since you buy and install different thermostats for different zones, or set up sensors that feed a single thermostat with different home zone information. That means you can control the upstairs and downstairs or bedroom wing and living wings of your home separately as well, providing truly granular control of temperatures.

Once installed, your smart thermostats can be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled through your computer, tablet, or smartphone. That means you can override your thermostat any time you get a chill or are overheated after a workout in the yard. If you also use the Amazon Echo, you can ask Alexa to turn up the heat for you without even tapping into the app.

Comfort aside, a learning thermostat can fine tune adjustments to maximize your energy consumption and minimize bills. You can also monitor the health of your hvac system and be reminded to change filters or be alerted to potentially dangerous or damaging conditions.

Programmable Thermostat: Offer Set and Forget Convenience

Setback thermostats became popular in the 1970s when energy prices were skyrocketing and gas lines were common. The idea of saving money by adjustAmong the many features that programmable thermostats offer is that it can help save a large amount of money on energy bills.

If you decide to install a programmable thermostat in your home, you have the absolute control over when your heating and cooling system shuts down or turns on. Most models will allow you to  tell the thermostat to raise and lower the temperature up to four times each day. Most models will also allow you to “program” them for a different time schedule and temperature level for the weekends versus the work week.  A common program might look like this:

Monday – Friday 5:30am Set temp to 70
Monday – Friday 8:00am Set temp to 65
Monday – Friday 5:00pm Set temp to 70
Monday – Friday 10:00pm Set temp to 63
Saturday – Sunday 8:00am Set temp to 70
Saturday – Sunday 11:00pm Set temp to 63

Installation of a setback thermostat is the same as an old fashioned single setting thermostat. Most, like the Honeywell RTH6450D1009 5-1-1-Day Programmable Thermostat, are an easy 15 minute installation even without directions. Setting the program is as easy as repeatedly hitting a button or dialing a knob.

Overriding the program temporarily is also as simple as hitting an up or down arrow on the thermostat. Unfortunately, you will have to climb out from your nest of blankets and make your way over to the thermostat itself to make this change.

Smart Thermostat Vs Programmable Thermostat: The Verdict

As always, finding out which type of thermostat is best for you and your home rests solely on your own preferences. However, it’s rare that you’ll find your options as clearly different as this.

Do you want true control over your home heating and cooling environment? Are you willing to pay a little more upfront and spend an hour or two setting different programs for different parts of your home so you can save the most money possible and enjoy the maximum in comfort and convenience?

Or is a 10-20% monthly energy savings enough, especially when it comes with such a low upfront price and time cost?

Your answers should make this one of the simplest smart home decisions you’ll ever make…and you know how much we love simple.


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