A programmable thermostat is a great investment for homeowners — a multitasking tool that keeps you comfortable and helps you save money. While basic thermostat technology, using liquid mercury and an electrical switch, has been around for a long time, it’s the digital advances that have elevated thermostats to must-have status in a budget-conscious home
Going digital. Rather than moving mechanical dials or switches, digital thermostats operate by the push of a button or touch-screen display to set the desired temperature.
It’s all about control. Digital advances provide ways to control temperature in new ways that can save you cash. Here’s an example during the winter months. With a programmable thermostat, a homeowner can set the temperature lower at night when everyone is asleep and under bedcovers, then have the temperature warm up shortly before morning. The thermostat, based on your programmed instructions, can then lower the temperature again while everyone is away at work or school, then increase the temperature so the house is nice and warm when you arrive home. Your energy usage and money spent on it are automatically reduced. Your savings are guaranteed because you no longer have to worry about remembering to manually make adjustments.
Zoned systems. Because heat rises, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain even comfort in two-story homes. With a zoned system, a downstairs thermostat keeps the heat on until the ground floor warms up, while a second thermostat upstairs keeps the second floor from getting too warm.
Talk to me! For those with visual impairments or other physical limitations, digital thermostats have been developed to allow homeowners to make temperature adjustments by conversing with it.
The latest trends. New innovations just keep coming. One new thermostat uses an outside sensor to make needed adjustments rather than sticking rigidly to the temperatures and times you’ve programmed.
Another available feature is the “vacation mode,” which allows homeowners to program in their vacation dates, signaling the system to run less during that time period.
Finally, companies such as Honeywell, Emerson and Nest, have developed programmable thermostats that can be operated remotely by an app downloaded to your mobile device. The Nest thermostat learns your preferences and chooses them intuitively. It can even detect when someone is in the room and can adjust the temperature accordingly.